What leads to a Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal is the natural cavity within the center of the tooth which is filled with the soft pulp tissue and sensory nerves. When this root pulp is infected or inflamed, the root canal treatment is advised. This treatment helps save the tooth from extraction and prevent the infection from spreading to the healthy tissue around the infected tooth, that may sometimes lead to formation of an abscess. Neglecting the infected tooth can spread the swelling to the face, neck or head. It also affects the bone around the root tip. It helps to restore the natural tooth
What causes tooth decay or infection?
A deep decay caused by infected tooth, a crack or chipped tooth, or repeated dental procedures or large fillings in the tooth and sometimes due to facial trauma. These reasons cause the tooth pulp to become irritated and inflamed.
How long does it take for the RCT?
A RCT may need a couple of visits to the dental office and often treated by RCT specialists or Endodontists specialized in Root Canal Therapy. An x-ray is advised to see the extent of infection or damage to the tooth and to confirm the treatment.
The procedure involves anesthetizing the area locally, to comfort the patient. An access hole is drilled into the tooth to clear out the infected pulp, any related debris and bacteria using endodontic treatment procedure. After thorough cleaning of the treatment, it is sealed the same day by some dentists, or sometimes temporarily sealed for a week or so with medication placed in the canal to completely clear out any lurking infection and prevent contamination of food and saliva entering the Endodontic Therapy, until the final filling is done in the next appointment.
In the final appointment, the root canal is finally sealed with rubber compound called gutta percha and restored to normal function with placement of a crown.
The perception is that the Endodontic therapy is very painful, but it is only true that the tooth may experience sensitivity after the completion of the this treatment because of inflammation of the natural tissue. The sensitivity also depends on the extent of infection the person comes with at the time of treatment.
How long would it take for recovery?
The recovery period is not more than a week usually if the filling is done in a couple of sittings. The tooth may feel sensitive after the first few days following the completion of a RCT. This discomfort is usually addressed with over-the-counter pain medication. Most often patients can return to their routine activities from next one or two days. Restraining the repaired tooth to normal biting and chewing is preferred prevent breaking of the fragile tooth before it is fully restored.
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
1) Retaining your natural tooth.
2) Maintaining oral hygiene with regular brushing, flossing, and antiseptic mouth-washing ensures the restored tooth to last a life time.
3) The success of RCT is usually 95%
4) With the restored tooth, it is difficult to differentiate from the rest of the normal teeth for an onlooker.
5) Root canal is the best option to restore a decayed tooth.
6) Retains the chewing efficiency and esthetics
The other alternative to a root canal procedure is – tooth extraction and replaced with bridge, implant, or removable partial denture – to restore the chewing function and avoid drifting of the tooth enabling proper bite.
However, the Root Canal Treatment is the most preferred option to retaining the original tooth.