RCT is one name that gives many patients shivers when told about it. However, in reality, it is not that bad. Infact, it is an instant pain reliever and the best treatment to retain the original teeth. A Root canal treated tooth serves its purpose and function just as a healthy tooth. It is one of the dental treatment options mentioned in our article on DENTAL TREATMENT GUIDE for toothache that should be more popular than tooth extraction (tooth removal), however, it is less popular.
The aim of root canal treatment (RCT) is to get rid of the damaged pulp and the bacteria that are causing the infection. A root canal is a capillary, which runs from the base of the root of the tooth to the middle of the crown (the visible part of the tooth). The root canal carries the pulp (a network of blood and nerve cells), which brings the tooth to life.
It involves removing inflamed or dead nerves and blood vessels from the centre of your tooth. This is done by drilling a hole through the top of your tooth to the root canal and removing the dead tissue. The empty root canal system is then cleaned, filled and a permanent seal put over the top of your tooth. The procedure may be carried out over one or two dental visits.
1. What Are the Goals of Root Canal Treatment?
As an alternative to an extraction, the goals of root canal treatment are to save the tooth and allow it to be retained in the mouth for many years in a state of health, function, and comfort. RCT is directed towards removing diseased tissue from the inside of the tooth and subsequently filling and sealing the root canal space in order to minimize the possibility of future re-infection.
2. Why Is RCT Called Endodontic Treatment?
Endodontic is a word composed of two Greek words, “endo” meaning “inside,” and “odont” meaning “tooth.” Endodontics is that branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases that arise from the soft tissues inside the tooth. These tissues are referred to as the dental pulp and they occupy the root canal space. Thus, endodontic treatment is also called root canal treatment.
3. Why is RCT recommended?
Your teeth have a core of blood vessels and nerves at their centre. This living tissue is called the pulp and is in a space called the root canal. The number of root canals varies depending on how far back the tooth is in your mouth. Front teeth often have just one root canal, while back teeth may have three or more.
If your tooth is injured or has severe decay, the pulp can be damaged and the blood vessels may die. This results in a “dead” tooth which is likely to get infected because it’s no longer protected by your immune system.
There are a number of ways that a tooth’s pulp can be damaged. These include:
• TOOTH DECAY– cavity in the tooth that grows deeper and touches the nerve. Since the cavity is filled with bacteria, the root canal gets inflamed and causes pain
• GUM DISEASE– infection from gums reaching to the base of roots.
• INJURY– accidental cracks from biting hard diet or bones, stone.
All of these conditions can lead to bacteria getting trapped in your teeth. There is then the possibility that the tooth pulp will become infected, causing blood vessels and nerves to die.
Without treatment, a collection of pus (abscess) can form at the root tip. This can lead to pain and swelling and may cause damage to the bone around your tooth. If you don’t have treatment to remove the infected tissue, you may have to have the whole tooth taken out (extracted).
4. What does the treatment look like?
In most cases, a crown may be required to strengthen the tooth
An X-ray image of your tooth will be taken to check whether or not you need RCT. This can help to show how far any decay has spread, if there is an abscess and how many root canals your tooth has.
If you have a dead tooth or one with severely damaged pulp, root canal treatment may be the only way to repair it. However, it’s important to discuss with us what is involved in this treatment before deciding to go ahead with it.
If you do need to have root canal therapy, a local anaesthetic will be administered. This completely blocks feeling from the area and you will stay awake during the procedure. It may not be necessary to have an anaesthetic if your tooth is dead but that option will be discussed with you.
Your tooth will then be separated from the rest of your mouth using a thin sheet of rubber called a dam. This keeps your tooth dry and protects your airway. It also allows effective cleaning of the root canal system and prevents it from becoming contaminated again, which can cause infection later.
A hole in the top of your tooth is then made through which the dead or diseased pulp is removed. The empty pulp cavity is then cleaned and some medication to help get rid of bacteria may be placed within the canal/s.
It may be that this is all that is done at your first visit, after which a temporary filling will be placed on your tooth to keep it sealed until you come back for further treatment. However, we may decide to fill the cavity immediately if the root canal infection hasn’t caused you any serious problems.
If you have had a temporary filling, when you come back, it will be removed and then the root canals will be filled with a suitable material. This is likely to be a putty-like substance called gutta percha. A permanent filling or crown is then placed over the top of the tooth to protect your filled root canal and the vulnerable tooth structure. You will often be recommended a crown made from gold or porcelain. A metal or plastic rod inside the canal to help support the crown may be placed, if necessary.
5. What are the risks?
It’s unlikely that you will have any further problems following RCT. However, if your tooth does become infected again, we can repeat the procedure, although the rate of success is reduced with subsequent treatments.
The best way to avoid root canals is to take good daily care of your teeth to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria. Brushing and flossing are important. Just as important are regular trips to the dentist, to check for the first sign of decay or cracks that could eventually lead to an infected tooth. In this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure! TOP 8 QUESTIONS ON ROOT CANAL TREATMENT(RCT2)
WHEN TOOTHACHE CALLS, RCT SHOULD COME TO MIND. OR WHAT DO YOU THINK?