Root canal treatment or RCT as it is commonly known as, is performed to repair and save a badly infected tooth instead of removing it. The term “root canal” is derived from the cleaning of the canal inside a tooth’s root and it is carried out by removing the damaged area of tooth (the pulp), cleaning and disinfecting before filling and sealing it.
With advancement in dental science, RCT has become very convenient and very little pain, if any. It is fact it is now less painful than living with a decayed tooth. Alternative treatment options include tooth extraction and replacement with either dental implant or fixing bridge or removable partial denture.
Signs of RCT
- Decayed tooth
- Painful tooth
- Cracked or dead tooth
- Trauma exposing the pulp
- Tooth with a deep cavity
Performed by an endodontist, RCT usually takes one or two sittings. At times, additional sitting(s) may be required because some teeth prove to be challenging to treat. First a dental X-ray is done to check the exact damage. Local anaesthesia is administered to make the area numb and then a rubber like sheet called a dental dam is put inside the mouth to keep the tooth clean and free of saliva.
After removing the decayed particles, an opening is made throw the crown of the tooth to gain access to the pulp chamber. Afterwards, infected pulp is removed using small dental instruments. After removing the infected pulp, canals are given proper shape and enlarged for the filling material. Irrigation process may be used to clean and flush up the debris from canal.
If required, in some cases, medication is put into the pulp chamber and root canal to clear any infection. In case the infection has spread beyond tooth then a course of antibiotic may be administered. Temporary filling is placed in the crown to protect the tooth from further decay for the patients requiring multiple visits. Patients are advised to avoid biting or chewing until the tooth is fully treated and restored.
In order to help the canals free of infection afterwards and fill the dead space, the canals are filled with rubber material called gutta-percha cones. The top is sealed to prevent filling material to ooze out. The filling made up of gutta-percha remains until the permanent filing or crown or cap is fixed, which makes it look like a natural tooth.
Advantages of RCT
In majority of the cases of tooth decay, RCT remains the most conservative, cost effective and better option simply for the fact it allowing saving the natural tooth. Unlike other methods like dental implants, removable partial dentures or bridges, RCT Is carried to restore the natural tooth while getting rid of decayed, infected particles.
Subsequently, Root Canal Treatment also prevents the bone loss while maintaining the stability of the adjacent tooth. Now, with advancement in dental science, the procedure has become more or less painless and the infected pulp tissues are removed easily.
After RCT, the restored tooth with a new crown looks aesthetically pleasing. If good oral hygiene is followed, then the restored tooth may even last for a lifetime.