Endodontics (Root canal therapy)


The tooth is not a solid object, but has a space in its center. Each tooth has a soft tissue (the pulp) in this space. This tissue partially nourishes the tooth from the inside. Because of deep decay, injury, or gum disease, the tissue in your tooth has become inflammed or infected (diseased). In any other part of your body, if a similar tissue becomes diseased, the body merely throws it off and forms new tissue. However, a tooth is unique and in a different situation. Because the soft tissue within the tooth is totally encased within hard tissue, the body cannot get to it in order to affect repair. Therefore, it is the role of the dentist to do what the body is unable to do. He must remove the soft tissue located in the internal spaces(canals), clean the area, make it infection free and finally fill the canals with a special material so that bacteria cannot re-enter the tooth to cause another infection. When the endodontic treatment is complete, the tooth is by no means "dead". It receives quite adequate support from the surrounding tissues and may be expected to last as long as any other natural tooth. It is advisable to get a crown made on the tooth treated as the Endodontically treated tooth becomes brittle in later stages and is liable to fracture.

Cleaning and shaping your root canals
First, your dentist makes an opening in your tooth and removes any filling and decay. Then your dentist removes unhealthy pulp with tiny, flexible needles known as files and reamers. Using delicate, up-and-down motions, your dentist gently cleans and smooths your canals to prepare them for the canal-filling materials.
Filling your root canals
After the pulp has been removed from your root canals and they have been smoothened, the root canals are filled with tiny cone-shaped pieces of gutta-percha, a firm, rubberlike material, or another dental material. A sealer-cement is used to seal the filling material into place.
Restoring Your Tooth
After the inside of your tooth has been treated, the outside will be restored. To protect your tooth's underlying structures and give your tooth a healthy appearance, and if your tooth needs extra support, your dentist x-ray remove some gutta-percha and insert a post before the filling and crown are applied.
· A post, stainless steel or another metal, is sometimes cemented into your root canal to build up your tooth after root canal therapy.
· A filling, usually silver or a tooth-colored dental material, may be used to fill the opening in the top of your tooth.
· A crown, usually gold, white metal, chrome cobalt or porcelain, may be used to cover a tooth that has a large opening after root canal therapy.
Your tooth is opened, then your root canal is cleaned and shaped. Your root canal is filled with dental material such as Gutta-percha and maybe covered with a temporary filling. A post supports your tooth. A crown protects it afer the treatment.
After your root canal treatment, take care of your treated tooth the same way as you would for your other teeth.
Brush after every meal. Floss before going to bed. Have regular dental check-ups and maintain good oral health.

Having endodontic (root canal) treatment today is more or less like having a cavity filled. If you need endodontic (root canal)treatment, you can find the answers to normally asked questions below.

Who can do endodontic treatment?
All dentists, are trained in endodontics sufficiently enough to treat all cases requiring endodontic treatment.

Why do one need endodontic treatment?
Sometimes the pulp inside your tooth becomes inflammed or infected. This can be caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, or a blow to the tooth.

Endodontic treatment - Signs (when needed)?
Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. But sometimes, there are no symptoms.

How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
The dentist removes the inflammed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the tooth, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards,he will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect it and restore it to full function.

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
While many patients may be in great pain before seeing the dentist, most report that the pain is relieved by the dentist and that they are comfortable during the procedure. For the first few days after treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with medications. The dentist will tell you how to care for your tooth at home.

How many sittings does a dentist takes to complete endodontic treatment?
Now a days dentists normally take three to four sittings to complete a Root Canal Treatment. But in badly infected teeth one may need more than four sittings. But in many cases it can be completed in one sitting also.

Any special precautions to be taken after endodontic treatment?
You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist, because it could fracture. Otherwise, just practice good oral hygiene - brushing, flossing and regular checkups and cleanings. Endodontically treated teeth can last for many years, even a lifetime.

Can the Endodontically treated tooth require any other treatment?
New trauma, deep decay, or a loose, cracked or broken filling can cause new infection in your tooth. In some cases, your dentist may discover very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.