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Root Canal

What is the purpose of a root canal?

In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you would probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment, your tooth can be saved. Root canals are a relatively simple procedure involving one to three office visits. Best of all, having a root canal when necessary can save your tooth and your smile! A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory – to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.


When is root canal performed?

A root canal is a treatment performed to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.


What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

Teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include severe toothache, pain upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or pain in response to hot and cold temperatures, a dark discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.

What happens during a root canal?

Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breakage. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.


What exactly is a root canal?

If your tooth’s nerve chamber becomes infected by decay, root canal treatment is often the only way to save your tooth. Inside your tooth’s hard outer shell is a nourishing pulp of blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves. The root canal forms a pathway for vessels and nerves to extend to the bone. Deep tooth decay or injury can cause serious damage and infection to the pulp’s nerves and vessels. Root canal, also known as endodontic, treatment cleans out the infected pulp chamber and canals.

Some indications for the need of root canal treatment may be:

  • Spontaneous pain or throbbing. 

  • Pain while biting or chewing. 

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold. 

  • Severe decay or injury that causes an abscess (infection) in the bone surrounding the tooth. 

  • Traumatic injury exposing the nerve.


Steps involved in the process of root canal

Step 1: After the tooth is anesthetized, an opening is made through the tooth into the pulp chamber (nerves).

Step 2: The lengths of the roots’ canals are determined.

Step 3: Unhealthy pulp is removed. Canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped using progressively larger endodontic files.

Step 4: Canals are filled and sealed. A metal post (pin) may be added for structural support or to retain restorative materials.

Step 5: The tooth is sealed with a temporary filling. After your root canal treatment your tooth will require a crown (cap) to be placed.

Step 6: Filling of the tooth.

Step 7: Crown to be placed on the tooth.


Post Root Canal Instructions

  • Do not eat till the anesthesia wears off. 

  • Consumption of liquids is permitted. 

  • Take a pain-killer. 

  • Do not eat from that tooth for the next 48 hrs. 

  • The tooth will be sensitive to chewing for 5/6 days.

Is root canal painful?

As, root canals are done under local anesthesia, it is a painless procedure. Moreover; with the rotary machines available today; the procedure is so much faster than doing the same with hand filing.

How many sittings are required for a root canal?

That depends on the degree of infection. However; now a day’s root-canal treatment can be completed in single sitting in more than 90% of the cases or 2 to 3 sittings at the most. Only in cases of swelling or severe pain /infection; the number of sittings may increase.

Why is a crown required after Root canal treatment?

After RCT the tooth tends to become weak and brittle and prone to fracture. That’s why after RCT a crown is very important to protect the tooth and hold it together. Placing a crown helps the tooth to be able to withstand chewing forces and to function as a normal tooth. Moreover, it completes the sealing of the tooth, preventing breakage of root canal filling and infection.

Can a badly broken tooth also be treated with root canal treatment?

Unless the tooth is split in two or as long as at least one mm of tooth is visible all around, the tooth can be treated by RCT. In such cases the tooth is reinforced with additional structure called Post and core that acts as foundation of the tooth to withstand chewing forces.

When is root canal treatment suggested instead of a simple filling?

When any decay/trauma/wear of the tooth invades the innermost section consisting of nerves and blood vessels (liquid media), nothing solid (filling) can be placed over it and as the infection spreads into the roots; the blood and nerve tissues need to be taken out along with the infection.

What is the significance of saving the tooth by performing root canal and capping?

Saving the tooth helps keep the surrounding bone intact and opposing teeth in ideal position thus preserving the adjacent teeth from collateral damage. What is the success rate of RCT?


Root canal has a success rate of more than 95% thanks to the advanced materials available to perform the procedures today such as Apex locators and digital xrays to ensure accuracy; rotary instruments and fiber posts with core build up materials to improve the strength of tooth and CAD-CAM precision crowns bonded chemically to the tooth.

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