Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is a procedure aimed at restoring and preserving a severely damaged or infected tooth in order to avoid its extraction. The procedure includes the removal of damaged tooth tissue (pulp), as well as its cleaning and disinfection, after which obturation (sealing) is performed. Common causes of pulp damage are tooth cracking, deep cavity, frequent dental work on the tooth, or tooth damage. The term «root canal treatment» refers to the procedure for cleaning the root canals of a tooth.
Several decades ago, endodontic treatment was a painful procedure. Today, thanks to advances in dentistry and the use of local anesthetics, most patients experience little or no pain in root canal treatment.
Endodontic treatment includes a number of stages that are carried out within several visits to the dentist, depending on the specific situation. These steps include:
Endodontic examination and x-ray scanning of the tooth, after which the specialist usually injects a local anesthetic.
Typically, a rubber dam is placed over the damaged tooth to isolate the tooth and prevent saliva from flowing to it. An endodontist makes a hole through the back of the anterior tooth or the crown of the molar or premolar to remove the diseased pulp. The stage of the operation is called «pulp extraction».
The next step is to clean the pulp chamber and root canals and shape them to prepare for filling.
The endodontist fills the root canal with gutta-percha material.
If a second visit is required, a temporary filling is placed through the hole in the crown of the tooth to protect the tooth between visits. Subsequently, the temporary filling is removed, and the pulp chamber and root canal are filled with a permanent filling material from gutta-percha and sealed with cement. Sometimes a metal or plastic rod (pin) is inserted into the channel to create support. At the final stage, a crown can be installed to restore the natural shape and appearance of the tooth. If a tooth is fractured, a post may be required to strengthen it before placing a crown on it.
Root canal treatment from start to finish
Many people worry that the root canal procedure can be painful, and this has indeed been the case in the past. Today, thanks to the development of anesthesia technologies and surgical techniques, the procedure for treating root canals is comparable in terms of the level of comfort with the filling procedure. Usually, toothache causes infection of the tooth, and in this case, the solution to the problem is endodontic treatment and root canal treatment. In fact, infection of the dental pulp can cause the development of a tooth abscess and destruction of the bone surrounding the tooth.
A healed and reconstructed tooth, with proper care, can last a lifetime. Root canal treatment has a high success rate and is less expensive than alternative treatments such as tooth extraction and prosthetics with bridges and implants.
However, cavity can develop in the treated tooth, and therefore, in order to prevent possible problems in the future, it is necessary to carefully observe the rules of oral hygiene and regularly undergo a preventive examination by a dentist.
To determine the chances of success or failure with root canal treatment, dentists usually compare fresh X-rays with those taken before treatment. This comparison allows you to determine whether the destruction of bone tissue is continuing or is the process of its restoration.
In some cases, root canal treatment is ineffective due to the fact that the infection develops inside the tooth, or due to incomplete removal of the primary infection site. In these cases, an apicoectomy procedure is performed, in which the infected area and apex of the tooth are removed, and in their place a filling material is placed. In other cases, a secondary root canal treatment is recommended.