Are you experiencing?
- Recurring episodes of tooth ache that does not respond to traditional pain relieving remedies?
- Facial swelling, difficulty in chewing, and temporal headaches?
- Persistent discomfort and hypersensitivity of affected teeth to cold/ hot foods (even after the hot/ cold source has been removed)
- Recurring or persistent pimple on the affected side of face
- Tenderness and discomfort in the surrounding teeth and gums
If answer to one or more of the above listed questions is a YES; you may need root canal treatment.
A root canal is an endodontic procedure that is designed to protect the natural but diseased tooth. A permanent tooth is covered with white enamel (the visible part of tooth); however, under this white enamel lies:
- Dentin (a hard layer of calcium and phosphate crystals) that constitutes the major part of the tooth and protects the pulp
- Pulp is the inner softer tissue that supports connective tissue, blood vessels, and the nerves.
Although the pulp plays a vital role during the development process, the dependency of tooth on the pulp decreases in adults since the tooth is protected and nourished by surrounding soft tissue.
What are the indications of a root canal?
Any condition that leads to inflammation or infection of the pulp or moderate to severe damage to the nerves can present as a tooth ache and persistent discomfort. Some notable causes are:
- Long standing and poorly managed tooth decay
- History of multiple dental procedures on the same tooth
- Improper or faulty crowns
- History of moderate to severe trauma to a tooth that may lead to pulpal damage
- History of a crack or a chip in the tooth
Why choose a Root canal?
Long standing, poorly managed pulp inflammation or infection can lead to severe and disabling tooth ache; other complications are:
- Swelling of head and neck region
- Abscess formation
- Fistula or sinus formation (for the drainage of pus to the exterior or within gums)
- Loss of bone
- Other oral and systemic health issues
What is the procedure of a root canal?
A root canal procedure involves
- Removal of the inflamed/ damaged dental pulp or infected nerve
- Thorough cleaning and disinfection of the interior of the tooth
- Filling and sealing of the affected tooth cavity with gutta-percha (a rubber like substance)
- Covering of the tooth surface with the help of a crown for further protection and near normal function
What are the benefits of getting a root canal over tooth extraction?
Although it may seem that choosing a root canal over a tooth extraction is a more complicated, time consuming (and in some cases money-consuming choice); there are several reasons why you should opt for salvaging a natural tooth by a root canal
- Effective mastication (chewing action of jaws)
- Lesser requirement of dental work in future
- Retention of effective biting force and oral sensation
- More natural and attractive appearing teeth and overall beautiful smile
- Protection of other teeth from unnecessary stress, wear, tear or strain
What else should you know about a Root Canal Procedure?
If a root canal is performed in expert hands, most teeth may last a lifetime with optimal oral care after the procedure. According to a report published in Journal of endodontics (1) patients report substantial improvement in pain intensity and severity within 24 hours post-procedure.
- Most procedures are completed within a couple of appointments (depending upon patient factors and the situation of the tooth).
- The mechanics of the procedure are fairly similar to tooth-filling and most patients report a drastic reduction in the intensity and severity of pain.
- Depending upon your preferences and overall health status, the procedure can be performed under local anesthesia.
- Post-procedure pain management is usually accomplished by over the counter analgesics.