The structure of a tooth is made up of various layers. The innermost part is made up of a soft substance and is known as pulp. This pulp is connected to a nerve which further gets attached to the sensory network of nerves transmitting sensations. The outer layer of a tooth envelopes both these inner components and protects them from harm.
But in case of tooth decay, the acids produced by the bacteria go past the protective layer and reach the pulp of a tooth. That’s when endodontists prefer to go for a root canal treatment. Let us read the cases when root canal treatments are a must.
The reasons to carry out root canal treatment are:
Tooth decay is the worst enemy of our teeth. Bacteria enter the cavities in our teeth causing considerable damage as tooth decay. Anti-bacterial medications prove futile as the inflammation caused by the bacterial infection hinders the blood supply to a tooth.
As mentioned above, when the decay reaches deep down to the nerve of a tooth, a root canal treatment is the call of the hour. When left untreated, deep decay can spread to gums and other parts of our bodies such as the lungs or the brain.
Cracked or chipped tooth
Our teeth are fragile enough to crack or chip-off when subjected to trauma. This can also occur while chewing hard foods such as nuts, ice, corn on the cob, rock candies, etc. Cracked teeth can or cannot be painful, but they can always hold room for food particles to get stuck which is a breeding ground for tooth caries.
These damaged teeth need to be repaired to fill the cracks and chipped off parts. Root canal treatment makes sure the decay does not reach to the pulp.
The process of degeneration of our natural teeth is a continuous one and any laxity in their care can result in decay time and again. What follows are extensive dental restorative works. In cases where not much of the tooth structure is left, dentists prefer to put on a dental crown on the tooth after performing root canal treatment.
Injury to pulp
Tooth decay is not the only culprit to harm dental pulp. There are times when the dental pulp gets damaged due to trauma. It can be an extremely painful condition and requires to be treated as soon as possible. Dentists often prefer root canal treatment for such injuries as they can be deep and cause much harm to the pulp.
The procedure of root canal treatment
This is the preliminary stage where a dentist first sedates the patient with light sedatives to numb the area around the damaged tooth. The tooth is then drilled up to the pulp chamber. Measurements of the root canal are then carried out to know the extent of decay and possible treatment options. This measurement is done with the help of X-rays or Apex locator.
The decay or damage to the pulp is removed from the measured tooth. The root canal inside the tooth is then thoroughly cleaned with an antiseptic solution. The hole is filled with a temporary filling and left as such for a few days to ascertain any sensitivity.
Once the tooth is free from all the infection, the temporary filling is replaced with a permanent filling.
If the tooth structure is still found fragile, it can be capped with a dental crown. Otherwise, the above three steps are enough to cure a tooth.