Root canal treatment, also known as root canal therapy (RCT for short), is a dental procedure required when the tooth becomes badly decayed, the tooth’s root canal is infected. This procedure involves cleaning, treating an infected nerve or root canal of the tooth, and then filling it with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function. Further, the treatment could involve from one to three visits to your dentist or Endodontist (root canal specialist).
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal treatment:
- Severe pain while biting or chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- An abscess or pimple on the gums
- Swelling and/or tenderness
- Swollen face or cheek
Reasons why your dentist suggests root canal therapy/treatment:
Your dentist may suggest root canal treatment if he/she observes the following in the x-ray diagnosis:
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
- An infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
- Injury or trauma to the tooth
What does root canal treatment involve?
Root canal treatment is very detailed and can be a long process, but each step of the treatment is performed to ensure that the risk of reinfection is minimized.
Step 1: Your dentist removes the tooth’s diseased pulp, and then cleans the area. This step requires more time as infection and bacteria need to be cleaned carefully and neatly.
Step 2: The space where the pulp used to be is filled with a non-reactive and biocompatible material called gutta-percha, and topped with a temporary filling.
Step 3: Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
How long does the procedure take?
It depends on the difficulty in cleaning and shaping the canals. And, how many canals a tooth has and who is doing the procedure, it can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.
In complicated cases, procedures may be split into multiple appointments to allow for an antibiotic to fight infection down in a canal before the treatment.
Root canal treatment can be easy to treat if caught early. Like most problems, the longer you wait, the worse it can be to treat. See your dentist right away if you feel any pain with chewing or hot and cold foods.
Call us today for painless root canal treatment!