Root canalis a capillary of tissues that run from the root of the tooth to the middle of the crown. This canal contains a network of blood and nerve cells that bring life to the tooth. These nerves get damaged due to cavities in the tooth and cavities infected with bacteria. As a result this canal gets inflamed and causes pain. Some of the other reasons that damage the teeth are infection from gums reaching the base of root canal.
There are two treatments to cure these infections:
1. Root canal therapy.
2. Pull the tooth, clean the gum below and replace the tooth with bridge or artificial crown.
This therapy has to be done quickly because the bacteria will infect this canal and spread to the jawbone that may weaken the structure that holds our teeth. The second treatment is done in very rare cases.
The common symptoms that require root canal treatment are:
1. Swelling around the teeth.
2. Severe tooth pain.
3. Tooth sensitivity on consuming sweets.
4. More pain when eating cold items.
5. Pain may spread even to head and ears.
TYPES OF ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
There are two types of canal treatment done:
1. Surgical canal treatment.
2. Non-surgical canal treatment.
Surgical treatment is a minor procedure performed under local anesthesia. The doctor identifies the pathological (i.e.) infected portion of gums and performs “curettage”. Curettage means removing the diseased tissue around the root followed by apicoectomy. Apicoectomy is a procedure to remove the infected portion and small filling is placed around the remaining portion of root for some days. Surgical root-canal treatment is a good long term prognosis if the infections are removed effectively.
NON SURGICAL TREATMENT:
Non surgical treatment is a procedure to save the endodontically failing tooth. Endodontics means diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases inside the tooth. In this procedure the patient’s artificial crown is removed and access opening is created to give non surgical access to the root canal space. After the opening is done non surgical treatment requires:
1. Locating previously missed canals.
2. Removing and filling old canal space.
3. Repairing pathological perforations in root.
4. Removing the broken crowns and replacing them.
After these procedures are done, root canal system is disinfected, reshaped and cleaned giving healthy teeth.
ALTERNATIVES TO ROOT CANAL TREATMENT:
The only possible alternative to root canal treatment is extraction of problematic tooth. After tooth extraction the following treatments are done:
1. Restored dental implant.
2. Fixed bridge.
3. Removable partial denture.
4. Not replacing the extended tooth.