Wed, 25 July 2018
Endodontic specialist, Dr Pranav, explains a simple procedure that can avoid pain and tooth loss.
What necessitates a root canal treatment?
Inside each tooth is the pulp, which is soft tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels. It lies within the structure and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the bone of the jaw.
When the pulp becomes diseased or injured, the tissue dies. If you don’t remove it, the result can be pain and swelling and infection may set in. You could even lose the tooth.
What kind of treatment is involved?
Treatment usually takes one to three visits to the dentist. Your endodontist removes the diseased pulp from the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth and these are cleaned and sealed.
On the initial visit, here’s what you can expect:
• Local anaesthetic usually is given to maintain patient comfort.
• The affected tooth is isolated from saliva with a rubber-like sheet called a rubber dam.
• An opening is made through the tooth (or crown). The pulp is removed and then the root canal is cleaned and shaped. Medication may be added to the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help cleanse the tooth and/or eliminate bacteria.
• A temporary filling is placed in the opening to keep saliva out. Antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is present and has spread beyond the end of the root(s).
On the second visit:
• The temporary filling is removed.
• The root canal is filled and permanently sealed.
If an endodontist performs the procedure, he or she usually will send you back to your dentist for preparation of a crown to be placed on the tooth. Crowns are made from a variety of materials, depending on the location and colour of the tooth and the amount of natural tooth remaining. Discuss with your dentist which option is best for you.
How long does the treatment last?
If you take care of your teeth and gums, your restored endodontic tooth could last a lifetime. However, regular check-ups are necessary. As long as the root(s) of a treated tooth are nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth will remain healthy.
A root canal is a relatively simple procedure that can save a tooth with a diseased nerve. Without root canal therapy, you could lose that tooth.
Root canal treatment typically causes little or no discomfort and can be done in one to three visits to the endodontist, a dentist who specialises in the health of dental pulp (nerve) and in performing root canal treatment.
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