What is the root canal?
Your teeth are really living organs that contain nerves and blood vessels, which are collectively called the pulp and are found in the centre of the tooth. The long canals within the tooth that contain the pulp are called the root canals. A tooth can have up to four root canals.
Why do I need a root canal treatment?
The pulp can get exposed and infected by bacteria found in your saliva due to various reasons, such as:
- deep decays
- breakdown of fillings
- cracks in teeth
- traumatic injuries or blows to teeth
- extreme wear
This infection then spreads through the root canal and into the underlying bone. This can result in pain, swelling and mobility of teeth.
The purpose of root canal treatment is to disinfect the root canals and keep it free of bacteria. The treatment can generally save your damaged tooth with a high success rate of 80-95%.
What are the procedures involved in a root canal treatment?
The procedure involves the following stages:
- Removal of diseased or damaged pulp inside the tooth
- Cleaning, disinfection and reshaping of the canals
- Sealing off the canals with canal filling to prevent bacteria from returning
- Preparation of the tooth for crown to restore the tooth to its original shape. If the tooth is structurally weak, a post may be inserted to reinforce the tooth, before placing a crown.
Root canal treatment usually takes one to three visits.
What to expect after a root canal treatment?
It is normal to feel some tenderness in the area over the next few days as your body undergoes the natural healing process. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time. These symptoms are temporary and usually could be managed very well with pain medications.
A root canal is nothing to fear – in fact, the procedure generally causes little discomfort, but is effective in relieving tooth pain.