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DENTAL
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Root Canal

Root Canal

What is Root Canal ?
 
A tooth comprises of four layers - enamel, dentine, cementum and the pulp. Enamel is the outermost layer and pulp is the core. Besides these parts, the root of a tooth reaches deep into the jaw bone for firmness and support. A channel comprising the pulp starts from the crown and ends at the tip of the root. The pulp is a storehouse of connecting tissues, blood vessels and nerves. It provides nourishment and sensation to the tooth. When this part of the tooth is infected, root canal treatment is administered in order to get rid of the infection.
Root canal treatment is also referred to as endodontic treatment or root canal therapy or simply RCT. When cavity formation is neglected, the infection spreads to the pulp and roots, thereby necessitating root canal treatment to save the tooth.

Root Canal

Tooth decay, when neglected, keeps on attacking the tooth until it reaches the pulp and develops bacterial infections in the core areas. Root canal treatment is suggested once the infection of the pulp is confirmed. There are various symptoms that hint on pulp infection. Since the nerves and blood vessels are affected, the tooth tends to become very sensitive towards extreme temperatures. Pain may occur while drinking hot and cold beverages.
 
Pain while eating is an early sign of infection. Also, pulp infection hampers the tooth firmness. So, loose tooth is also one of the symptoms that need to be addressed immediately.
 
After a certain period, the pain ceases because the infection moves from the pulp area in the crown of the tooth to the root canal. At this stage of infection, the pulp is completely dead. However, symptoms become more severe. Intolerable pain while chewing, swollen gums, swollen face, pus formation and discoloration of the affected tooth are some of the signs at this stage.
 
Once bacteria attack the root canal system, it is almost impossible to treat the infection with antibiotics since drugs cannot reach the affected area. Moreover, continual antibiotic treatment makes the bacteria resistant towards the drugs and treatment ceases to bring positive results. Damages caused to the pulp due to tooth decay, excessive wear and tear (attrition), numerous filling procedures or accidental tooth fractures are irreparable. In such cases, root canal treatment is the only solution to save the tooth.
 
A neglected pulp infection progresses to the bone that supports the tooth. This loosens the tooth and may lead to tooth loss. The main idea behind a root canal treatment is to restore the original tooth. This way it helps in maintaining the aesthetic as well as the functional aspect of your tooth for a long duration.

Root Canal

The whole root canal treatment comprises of measuring and cleaning processes. The dentist first numbs the area with local anesthesia. The small incision is made on the top or the back of the tooth in order to get access to the infected pulp. The infected pulp is removed. The dentist then makes a proper assessment of the length of the infected root canals. This helps in cleaning the canal effectively. X-rays and apex locator are used to estimate damage to the canal. The canals are cleaned with the help of antiseptic and oxidizing solutions. The tooth is then filled with temporary filling and followed up by a permanent filling or (and finally with) a crown, without which the tooth may break.
The root canal procedure might not be done within a single sitting. Depending on the severity of infection and number of affected canals, the dentist decides on the number of sittings. Root canal treatment on teeth positioned in difficult areas or those having chronic long standing infections require more sittings.
Once the decay reaches the pulp, dental procedures like root canal treatments are usually advised. However, this situation can be prevented by maintaining a healthy dental hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice daily and frequent flossing protect teeth from decay. Regular visit to the dentist helps you keep a check on your teeth and detect early signs of decay.
 
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