A root canal, unknown to most people, is a part of a tooth. It is the hollow section of a tooth that contains the nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells, also known as the pulp. A tooth consists of a crown and roots. The roots are instrumental in attaching the tooth to the jawbone. A pulp that nourishes the tooth and provides moisture is located inside the crown and the root. Unfortunately, this pulp and the tooth’s nerve can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay and other conditions. Therefore, the need for a root canal treatment comes in handy at this point.
A root canal treatment, also known as endodontics, is a dental procedure used to treat infection at the center of a tooth. Repeated dental procedures, large fillings, a crack/chip in the tooth and face injury can cause infection to a tooth’s nerve and pulp. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and the pulp of the tooth have to be removed with the inside cleaned and sealed. Failure to get this treatment done might cause the tissues surrounding your tooth to get infected, and an abscess might form.
The name of the dental procedure commonly referred to as a “root canal treatment” is endodontic therapy, which means “inside the tooth”. Endodontic therapy, contrary to the popular belief, is painless. It is in fact, a pain-reliever.
When do you need endodontic therapy?
The infection of the pulp by bacteria causes it to multiply and spread. Root canal treatment should begin when the pulp is confirmed, by a dental x-ray, to have been damaged by infection. How then do you know if your pulp has been infected? What are the symptoms of an infected tooth pulp?
The symptoms of a pulp infection include:
- A loose tooth.
- Pain when chewing, biting or speaking.
- Pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food or drinks.
These symptoms might subside as your pulp dies from infection. By this time, you might waive the pain you felt like a coincidence, but unfortunately, the infection would have spread. You then start to get more extreme symptoms like:
- Pus seeping from the affected tooth
- Tooth discoloration
- Severe toothache
- Pain when biting, chewing or speaking
- Swelling of the gums near the affected tooth
- Facial swelling, etc.
At this point, leaving the tooth in your mouth might be extremely dangerous for your oral health. If the infection becomes worse, the chances of an endodontic therapy working are slim.
Root canal treatment procedure
The bacteria causing the infection must be removed to treat it. This can be done either by removing the bacteria from the root canal system or through tooth extraction.
A root canal treatment helps you to save as much of your natural teeth as possible by avoiding extraction. The root canal is then filled and the tooth is sealed with a filling or a crown after the removal of the bacteria.
Anaesthesia is given to you before the process begins at all and this makes the process as painless as possible. A tooth can last up to ten years after a root canal treatment.
Root canal treatment recovery
Numbness of the tooth after successful treatment is nothing to worry about. However, you must avoid hard biting until you fully heal. Brush and floss as you normally would, and keep your dental appointments.
Take painkillers in case of pain, avoid sugary foods and avoid smoking.
With these precautions after successful treatment, you will heal faster.
Benefits of root canal treatment
Root canal treatment gets rid of the pain and infection in your mouth. It relieves pressure from the inflammation in the pulp and you can go about your normal business in a day or two after treatment.
If you’re always after the perfect set of teeth, root canal treatment helps to preserve the aesthetics of your teeth. Unlike tooth extraction, endodontic therapy removes the bacteria causing your infection without removing your natural tooth.
Root canal treatment also enables you to continue eating as you used to and with good oral hygiene, it can last you a long time without issues.