Our teeth are supposed to last for a lifetime.But chances are that either you or a family member has been advised an extraction of a badly damaged tooth..Till some years ago, extraction was the only treatment for such teeth. Today, thanks to modern dental techniques ,we are able to save your teeth. One of the most common approaches to saving teeth is called Root Canal Therapy (R.C.T.) .
Let us have a look at the tooth structure for a better understanding of this procedure.
Root canal therapy is generally necessary when the pulp, which contains the nerves and blood supply of the tooth, is diseased or damaged caused by a number of situations. For example, bacteria from a deep cavity can enter the pulp and cause infection. Or, the tooth may be injured in such a way that the blood supply is ruptured or the nerve damaged. A third possibility is a fracture of the tooth itself which exposes the pulp to bacteria normally found in the mouth.
A fourth possibility would be gum disease so severe that it causes infection of the pulp, too. An infected tooth will never heal on its own, and as it gets worse, it will continue to be a source of infection that weakens your immune system. This can affect your entire body. This damage to the bone and the swelling inside the bone can also be excruciatingly painful, and even life threatning. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood flow and cellular activity, and pressure cannot be relieved from inside the tooth.
Pain in the tooth is commonly felt when biting down, chewing on it and applying hot or cold foods and drinks.
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Or, deterioration of the pulp may happen so gradually that it is nearly painless and causes all the damage silently. In any event, when these situations exist, the tooth should be treated by root canal therapy, or it will be lost.
Why do I need root canal therapy?
Because the tooth will not heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection will spread, bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, and the tooth may fall out. Pain usually worsens until one is forced to seek emergency dental attention. The only alternative is usually extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift crookedly, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind will require an implant or a bridge, which can be more expensive than root canal therapy. If you nave the choice, it's always best to keep your original teeth.
Root canal treatment accomplishes the following:
- It removes bacteria which are currently present in a tooth.
- It removes unhealthy nerve tissue which is present in a tooth which bacteria could potentially use as a food source.
- It fills in and seals off the nerve space inside a tooth so physically there is no location where bacteria can live and be out of effective reach of your body's defense mechanisms.
What is involved in root canal therapy?
First, we'll numb the area to ensure that you are completely comfortable throughout the procedure. Once the area surrounding the infected tooth is completely numb, we will make an opening in the top portion of your tooth to allow us access to the pulp chamber.
The length of the root canals is determined. We will use special, delicate instruments to remove the unhealthy or damaged pulp.
Then the root canals are cleaned out and filed so they can be filled. We may place medication into the root canals to fight bacteria and further infection.
After the root canals are cleaned out and smooth, we will fill them with a rubber-like material, then seal the filling material into place with a special dental cement. A temporary filling is then placed on the crown of your treated tooth to protect it and restore its strength.
If you need more than one visit for your root canal therapy, we will place a temporary filling over your treated tooth to protect it after the canal has been cleaned out. You will need to treat the this area carefully and gently so you don't loosen the temporary filling and expose the inside of your tooth to bacteria.
On your next visit, we will remove the temporary filling, and then clean and fill the root canals. Lastly, in many cases we'll place a gold or porcelain crown over the treated tooth, restoring its strength. Your restored tooth could last a lifetime, provided you care for it properly with daily flossing, brushing and regular visits to our office.
Will the treatment be painful?
Many of the treatments can even be done without local anesthesia. However, if we anticipate any discomfort, a local anesthetic will be given. Sometimes there may be temporary irritation of the tissues surrounding the tooth following treatment. You will be advised of medication to control this.
What are the risks and complications?
More than 95 percent of root canal treatments are successful. However, sometimes a case needs to be redone due to diseased canal offshoots that went unnoticed or the fracturing of an instrument used, both of which rarely occur.