Who Needs Root Canal Treatment?

Millions of teeth are being saved by root canal treatment. Root canal is a form of endodontic treatment in which the pulp of the tooth is removed to treat tooth abscess or infection.

Definition of Root Canal

Root canal is a dental procedure designed to treat the root cause of tooth infection. Root canal gets rid of bacteria that lead tooth decay and gum problems.

Anatomy of the Tooth

To understand how root canal works, let us begin the discussion with the basic anatomy of the tooth.

  • Anatomy of the Tooth

    Anatomy of the Tooth

    Crown. The visible part of the tooth.

  • Enamel. The hard covering of the tooth.
  • Dentin. The hard layer of the tooth.
  • Pulp. The soft layer of the tooth. Pulp contains blood vessels and nerves. The nerve is responsible for providing painful tooth sensation.
  • Root region. The treated part of the root canal.

Indications for Root Canal

So, the big question is who exactly needs a root canal treatment?

The foremost indication for root canal is when the pulp of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected — and there are many causes of it. Tooth infection and inflammation can be caused by the following:

  • Deeply decayed tooth
  • Cracked or chipped tooth
  • Tooth treated repeatedly
  • Injury caused by trauma

Damaged tooth that are left untreated can cause pain leading to formation of abscess. See a dentist when you experience the following:

  • Pain
  • Chronic sensitivity to cold or heat
  • Tenderness on the tooth surface
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Pain felt during eating
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Swelling of the gum line
  • Presence of drainage

How Root Canal Treatment Works

The root canal system consists mainly of dental pulp which is made up of nerves and blood vessels. When the bacteria begin to enter the pulp, it destructs the pulp and may die. Bacteria burrow more deeply into the tooth until it causes the base tissues to become swollen and red. In extreme cases, swelling is evident on the face.

As mentioned previously, the focus of root canal treatment is to remove the infected root or the nerve that is causing the pain. This involves the use of dental devices such as metal files that are inserted back and forth into the treated tooth until the pulp is complete removed. Once cleared, the tooth will be filled in with metal coverings.

Root canal medical procedure is a painful, so patient receiving the treatment is locally anesthetized.

Effectiveness of Root Canal Treatment

There are many advantages of root canal treatment over other dental procedures. Essentially, it will spare your natural tooth. That said, the person maintains his natural appearance as well as normal biting. Without having ones teeth extracted, efficient chewing is maintained. More importantly, root canal will prevent tooth infection from spreading to other teeth and cause permanent damage.

It should be mentioned that root canal treatment involves quite a number of dental and hospital visits as the treatment plan is quite lengthy depending on the individual’s case. Root canal treatment is very effective in treating tooth pain and infection. Pain can last one to two days and is often relieved by pain killers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. The patient may experience pain after the treatment but it is often tolerable. A tooth treated by root canal can live as long as 10 years!

Note: Not all dentists can do root canal treatment. Doctors who are specialized in root canal treatment are referred to as endodontists.