Friday, 20 May 2011

Root Canal Treatment

What is Root Canal Treatment?
root canal treatment is a process of drilling out of the soft tissue (pulp) of the tooth, including the tooth's root canals.  Root canal treatment is considered to be the last attempt to save the severely compromised tooth from being extracted.  If the root canal treatment is carried out properly including removing all germs from the infected area it can last for many years and even sometimes till death.
Why Root Canal Treatment?
If the below mentioned five methods of checking heavily indicate the need for a root canal then you can be about 99% sure it's necessary. Root canal is advisable only after through analysis of the below mentioned steps:
1. Careful visual exam of the teeth (looking for color change).

2. Checking for temperature sensitivity (hot/cold).

3. Observing any additional sensitivity to pressure; either from biting, tapping or pushing on the suspect tooth.

4. Carefully X-Raying the area(s) in question. Many teeth that are categorised "showed need" under X-Ray for root canal treatment subsequently healed without it.

5. The tooth should be checked with an electronic nerve tester:  A simple device that measures the nerve's ability to react to a mild electrical stimulus.

If your dentist is recommending root canal without performing all these then it would be best for you to discuss this with the dentist..

If any one or two of the indicators are not conclusive it's generally best to wait for a while.  In many cases the situation will "settle down'' and resolve itself.
Signs & Symptoms
Some of the general symptoms and early signs of root canal are as follows:
  • Pain when chewing
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Foul smell to the breath
  • Swollen neck glands
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
  • Redness and swelling of the gums
  • Swollen area of the upper or lower jaw
  • An open, draining sore on the side of the gum
If the root of the tooth dies as a result of infection, the toothache may stop. However, this doesn't mean the infection has healed; the infection remains active and continues to spread and destroy tissue. Therefore, if you experience any of the above listed symptoms, it is important to see a dentist even if the pain subsides.
There are several factors that decide the duration of root canal treatment:

  • Extent of infection: If your tooth has a severe infection, it can decrease the effectiveness of the anesthetics your dentist will use which means that it may take much longer for your teeth to get numb, and your dentist cannot start working until you are comfortable. Time for anesthesia can take 2-20 minutes.
  •  Number of canals: If the tooth is an incisor it is likely that it has only 1 canal (although some have more), if it is a premolar it may have 1 or 2, if it is a molar it may have 3, 4, or 5. More canals take more time to be treated.
  • Curvature of canals: Straight roots are normally faster to treat than curved roots.

    Best case scenario is 30 minutes, more complicated molar teeth may take the best dentist 2 hours.
The Procedure of the Root Canal Treatment
Contrary to popular myth of experiencing excruciating pain during root canal treatment the real fact is, it is as simple as other clinical dental procedures. Usage of new high- tech equipment, including sophisticated sonar-like instruments makes it a scare free experience. Effective local anesthetics, high torque handpieces, and titanium files make the procedure quick and painless with a high success rate.
The root canal treatment is being treated in the following manner.
  • To start the treatment your dentist will administer anesthetic around the tooth and the area should be completely numb before the drilling commences. A covering is then placed around the tooth to keep it a clean work area.
  • Then a hole is drilled through the tooth into the soft pulp to gain access to the chamber and the soft pulp is then removed by scraping and suctioning.
  • Next, each root canal of the tooth is drilled out so that no trace of pulp or nerve is left.
  • When it is all properly cleaned out an antibiotic paste or lotion may be applied to the insides of the tooth to kill off any remaining germs.
  • A metal post may be inserted through the tooth into the jaw, to give the tooth additional stability and strength.
  • The tooth is then filled in and capped with a filling.
  • Antibiotic tablets may also need to be taken if there was a bad infection present.
Occasionally, for less than 5% of teeth, conventional RCT may not be successful under the following caess:
  • Inaccessible canals
  • Accessory canals
  • Microscopic fractures and
  • Unusual dental anatomy interference with treatment.
Post Treatment Complications of Root Canal Treatment
There are a few problems that may arise post the treatment is carried out.
  • When the nerve is removed it may lead to the discoloration of the tooth.
  • It is advisable to avoid root canal treatment among children and teenagers as this will impact the growing teeth as root canal treatment stops the growth of the teeth.
  • Teeth that have had root canal treatment are at greater risk of fracturing and for this reason a crown is frequently fitted to the tooth that has had root canal treatment.
  • Some teeth can not be saved by root canal treatment, even though the root canal treatment went well.
  • It can lead to infection which means the root canal treatment will need to be redone or the tooth be extracted.
  • Sometimes one of the fine instruments may break in the tooth during root canal treatment.  This may mean having to be referred to a specialist or having the instrument left in and being filled over.
  • Sometimes the tooth may feel different, if the sensation persists it may mean the filling is too high or that there is another problem.  So, further work by a dentist may be required to repair the tooth further.


Pros and Cons of Dental Root Canals

The pain associated with root canal is negligible Sometimes gums may get infected due to the pushing of infected tissues
Successful over 92% of all the cases Canals are irregularly shaped, and if the canal is not accurately measured or branches of the canal were not discovered, it cannot be completely cleaned or filled requiring the procedure to be done again when this area becomes infected
Once treated, the tooth need no extraction Until the infection is fully treated, there may be pain that can cause some problem
The treatment is for your health and not for any dental cosmetics

1 comment: