All (WH) answered about RCT:
What is Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal treatment is also known as Endodontic Treatment. It is done to repair and save a tooth that is badly damaged or decayed. During the root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed in order to protect the tooth from degrading and affecting the other teeth. Root canals are associated with the pulp chamber.
Pulp chambers are the hollow soft tissues inside the tooth that is inhabited by the nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities. Root canal treatment or the Endodontic Treatment involves the removal of these tissues and the subsequent shaping, cleaning and decontamination of the canals with small flies and irrigating solutions. The canals are filled with gutta-percha along with epoxy for its binding property.
What damages the tooth’s pulp and nerve?
The tooth’s pulp and nerve gets irritated, infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures, fillings, cracks, chips or facial trauma; it might damage the tooth’s pulp and nerve.
Why is tooth pulp removed?
When the tooth nerve or the pulp is damaged the bacteria breaks down inside the tooth and starts multiplying. In order to control the bacteria and protect other teeth before it starts infecting and damaging. Else the infection may lead to abscessed tooth i.e the pus gets accumulated at the bottom of the roots and it starts affecting the healthy teeth.
The damaged pulp may also lead to issues such as swelling all around the face, neck or head. Bone loss around the tip of the root and drainage (infected blood/pus) problems because of which the drainage may lead to gums, cheeks, and skin.
How do you know you need RCT?
Root Canal Treatment could treat root related problems. If the tooth is decayed or cracked or recurring gum boils or has undergone many fillings or dental procedure or chipped or undergone any dental trauma, and it affects the roots or the pulp of the tooth, in these cases RCT could be an option.
In case there is some kind of infection and it grows inside the tooth and affects the healthy tooth, the dentist may recommend RCT.
There could be cases when the patient may suffer from sensitivity, bone loss, decay which may end up with RCT.
RCT will also depend on the age and the condition of the tooth. In the case of old age, RCT won’t be an option because the strength and stability of the bone won’t be as strong as others. Generally in this case, dentists opt for Dental Implants.
How does endodontic save the tooth?
When the tooth is infected, chipped or has undergone any kind of oral trauma it affects the roots and the pulp as well. If it is left untreated the infection exaggerates and infects the healthy teeth. Moreover, there are chances of the formation of abscess which forms puss at the roots of the tooth and the infection spreads.
It is always advised to see a dentist when you come across any kind of oral trauma to avoid future inconveniences.
There are various steps of Endodontic Treatment, which includes cleaning the root canal, filling the root canal and adding a crown or filling.
When RCT is performed the dentist cleans the infections and the fillings help in keeping the pulp and tooth safe which eventually restricts all the infection from spreading.
What are the steps?
Initially, when you visit the dentist the first step includes X-Ray of the teeth to check the problem. In case, there is a requirement of RCT then the dentist may go ahead with the procedure.
RCT includes three vital steps that help in curing the tooth, roots and it’s pulp. The steps include Cleaning the roots, Filling root canal and Adding a crown or filling.
There are few pre and post procedures in RCT before the major steps start. The dentist uses a rubber dam (which is a rubber sheet) to make the area saliva free and dry. Sometimes it may so happen that the dentist will have to give local anaesthesia before he starts with the first step whereas sometimes the procedure could be started without the local anaesthesia.
The first step i.e Cleaning the root canal is done by drilling into the tooth and making a hole to access the roots. Once there is a way to reach out to the roots the cleaning procedure includes the cleaning of infection, repairing the damaged pulp or decay whichever may be the cause. After the cleaning is done, the dentist again cleans it with an antibacterial solution in order to save the tooth from further infection.
Once the cleaning is done the next procedure includes the filling. The dentist cleans, shapes the hollow area with the suitable files required. The hole or the canal is then filled with suitable fillings. Usually, it is a rubber-like filling of gutta-percha. In some cases, there might be a requirement for a crown. The patient has to wait or be careful until the crown and the tooth is ready for the crown to be affixed. By this time the repaired tooth is dead and the patient does not feel any kind of pain.
It is advised that the patient should not chew or bite on that particular tooth until and unless the crowning is done. After the crowning is done, the tooth is all set without any other complications.
What could be the complications after RCT?
There are no such promises that RCT would take away all the problems. Sometimes it may happen that RCT could end up with a few complications.
As RCT includes the drilling and cleaning procedure there are a few possibilities that could lead to other problems such as minute cracks which the tooth might have got during drilling. It then becomes difficult to fill in the cracks.
It may also happen that in spite of proper cleaning a few infected bacteria are left out or the infection of other teeth has started affecting another healthy tooth.
As time goes on, the filling may get withered and it may start the infection from within and again cause infection which may lead to various other dental procedures.
In case, the filling is not done properly there are chances of infection to return.
These could lead to other dental diseases which could exploit oral health. It is always advised to check with your dentist and follow their instructions strictly.
What are the preventions?
To prevent infection which could lead to RCT and other oral diseases is to follow the basic oral hygiene such as:
- Brushing teeth twice a day and flossing properly.
- Using a suitable toothbrush and replacing it in proper intervals.
- Attending regular dental check-ups and following the dentist strictly.
- Avoiding junk food and taking up healthy eating habits.
- Using a fluoride toothpaste could help.
How long does the RCT last?
RCTs are usually successful and can last a lifetime if kept with the utmost care. If the RCT is done with a permanent filling or with the help of a crown then there are chances it lasts long. Proper visit and dental check-ups could add for it’s smooth and proper functioning. If the tooth is being nourished by the nearby teeth and gums it tends to be healthy without any issues.
How much does it cost to have root canal treatment?
RCTs are affordable and profitable for everyone. It would be feasible for a common man to go ahead with RCT rather than neglecting it and ending up with expensive dental treatments.
Can a root canal take months to heal?
It usually takes 2-3 days for a root canal to heal. It may vary from person to person based on their healing power and the condition of the infection. In case it lasts more than 3 days, you should visit a dentist without any delay.
How many appointments are needed for a root canal?
RCT is usually done within 2 appointments, where in the first appointment the dentist checks on the issue. On the second appointment day, RCT could be done. It may take more 3-4 appointments if the infection or the condition of the tooth is worse.
What are the symptoms in case RCT did not work out properly?
Most of the RCTs turned out to be successful. In case you come across any pain or sensitivity for cold or hot, swelling or bleeding then do visit the dentist for confirmation if everything is fine or not after RCT.