Tooth decays in permanent teeth are quite a common problem in adults, and many of them leave it untreated. When the tooth’s surface decays, dentists tend to treat it with a simple filling, but if the decay deepens and its pulp becomes infected due to lack of care, and abscess can form.
To preserve the natural tooth, a dentist tries to carry out the root canal procedure, where the infection and inflammation within the tooth are treated. In this procedure, the dentist will remove the decay, and then, he or she will clean and fill the inside of the tooth. The outside of the tooth is finally sealed with a rubber material (called a gutta-percha), and placed with a cap or crown. The term “root canal” is used as it involves the cleaning of the canals in the tooth roots.
The main cause of a root canals are thus, affected pulps that arise from a cracked tooth, severe trauma (caused by an accident), or deep cavity. A root canal requires more than one appointment.
To treat the infected and inflamed tooth, an endodontist will carry out the following steps:
- Take an x-ray of your jaw to examine the tooth in need of a root canal.
- He or she will give a local anesthesia to the affected tooth. This will cool, or literally freeze the tooth so that nothing is felt when the cleaning is done.
- The endodontist will then create an opening in the diseased tooth to reach the pulp, so that the pulp can be cleansed and infection removed. This procedure is known as pulpectomy.
- The roots that are opened are filled with gutta-percha material(the rubber-like material mentioned above), and then the tooth hole is sealed with cement. This is how the infected tooth’s filling is performed.
- Once the root canal treatment is done, the tooth will need to be restored. The endodontist will give the remaining charge to the dentist or the prosthodontist for the tooth’s restoration. In tooth restoration, a prosthodontist replaces the tooth with a crown, denture, implant or bridge. This is a permanent filling for the tooth. The crown will be cemented into place.
The tooth will be tender for a week or so after the root canal treatment. Pain and swelling rarely occur. To recover from the dental procedure, good oral hygiene is necessary. This means brushing the teeth twice a day, and flossing daily before going to bed. Do not chew on hard foods, and your tooth may be temperature sensitive so avoid too hot, or too cold foods. Keep visiting the dentist at regular basis so that the teeth are properly cleaned and examined.