It involves the treatment of an inflamed pulpal tissue of a decayed or infected tooth. The procedures involve cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth in order to remove the nerve and pulp. If decayed or infected teeth are not treated with a root canal, the surrounding tissue may become infected.
A “root canal” is the natural cavity located in the center of a tooth. Within the root canal is the nerve of the tooth along with a soft area called the PULP.
An absence of tooth nerve will not affect its function or health. The purpose of the nerve is to sense for cold or hot. The nerve of a tooth is not important to the tooth’s function.
Bacteria can multiply in the tooth if the nerve tissue is damaged. Bacteria can cause infections or an abscessed (pus-filled) tooth. The root canal should be properly treated to avoid swelling throughout the face, loss of bone near the root, and/or drainage problems, sometimes creating a hole through the side of a tooth or through the cheek.
In addition, the patient can experience severe tooth pain when chewing or from pressure. Sensitivity or pain from hot or cold temperatures after the hot or cold is removed, darkening of the tooth, or swelling or pimples of gums can call be signs that you may need a root canal treatment.
The Treatment Process
At first, an X-ray is taken to detect the shape of the root canal and to find possible signs of infection of the surrounding bone. Usually, the dentist will numb the area using anesthesia even if the nerve is dead.
The dentist would put a sheet of rubber around the tooth to keep it dry.
Dead nerve tissues, pulp and other fragments are removed by drilling a hole into the tooth.
Other harmful materials are removed with root canal files, which scrub the inner sides of the tooth. Water and sodium hypochlorite is used to wash away smaller pieces.
The next step is for the dentist to seal the tooth immediately or after a week. If time is needed before the tooth is sealed, the dentist will place a filling in the hole to prevent anything from entering it.
The dentist then fills the interior of the tooth with a special paste. A rubber compound is also applied in the root canal. A filling is also placed in the drill hole. A crown or post may also be placed on the tooth to restore it and prevent it from being damaged.
Root canal procedures are known to cause a great deal of pain. There may be sensitivity in the tooth after the procedure has been completed, which can often be controlled by pain medications. The best thing to do is to avoid tough activity with the tooth for a while such as chewing.