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What is Root Canal Treatment?
Root Canal Therapy or Root canal Treatment (RCT) is a commonly used permanent treatment method to save the natural tooth. It is called the treatment of nerves. Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is also known as endodontic treatment. Endodontics is a specialised area of Dentistry. Endodontists are dental specialists, focused on treating the dental pulp and are specialised in root canal treatment.
In case of a tooth fracture or if you have pain in your tooth, or decays and cavity in teeth, RCT is needed.
The teeth are numbed before the RCT, so the patient doesn’t feel any pain during the process.
Almost a decade ago, normal rotary instruments are used. But now-a-days, highly flexible rotary instruments are being used, besides the microscope, digital imaging, and Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT).
A microscope magnifies and gives clear vision of the root canal area, so the dentist can check for any calcification or decay and repeat the perforation.
CBCT is going to be the future of endodontics as it allows the dentist to see the sections of every level of the teeth. And thus, successful endodontics are possible.
RCT is now completely painless and can be done quickly and comfortably. Thanks to technology!
Why is RCT needed?
To know the answer, one should understand the tooth’s structure. There are three layers in a tooth –
- Enamel – is the outer most layer of the tooth and is in white colour. It is stronger than bones and protects the following inner layers of the tooth.
- Dentin – is present right below the enamel. It’s a hard tissue. If the enamel gets lost or becomes thinner, then the problem of sensitivity to hot and cold eatables will arise.
- Pulp – consists of nerves and blood vessels. This is a soft tissue. When both the enamel and dentin aren’t thick enough, the pulp gets affected. In such case, severe pain occurs andit’s whenthe Root Canal Treatment is needed.
RCT is needed to save the natural tooth from the problems like decay, infection, and injury.
RCT is helpful in permanently removing the pain in your gums. If one or few of your teeth are paining or has either fallen or broke, in such case your dentist would suggest Root Canal Treatment.
Step-by-step Root Canal Treatment (RCT) Procedure
There are two steps in RCT:
- Step 1: Root Canal Treatment
- Step 2: Capping the treated tooth/teeth
Three appointments may be needed to carry out these two steps, and for the completion of RCT.
During your every visit, all or few of the following steps are done by your dentist.
- Access Opening – pulp chamber of the decayed tooth is opened by drilling into it.
- Bio Mechanical Preparation (BMP) – the area to be treated is cleaned and shaped by using files and disinfectant solution.
- Obturation – filling and sealing the drilled area using medicinal, bio-compatible materials.
Let’s know the details of the procedures carried out in each of your appointments.
In your first visit,
- The dentist diagnoses and identifies the problem through physical examination and by taking an X-ray.
- Then, local anaesthesia is applied to numb the tooth and surrounding gums, so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure.
- Opening of pulp chamber is done by drilling the crown of the tooth. This is the hardest part as the pulp area can be reached by drilling through two layers: enamel and dentin.
- Dentist now cleans the infected pulp area and removes the debris by using small instruments called files and disinfectant solution called Sodium Hypo chloride. This fluid is effective in killing the bacteria too.
- Cleaning process is continued until the dentist is ensured that the canal is completely clean.
- The canals are filled with harmless, bio-compatible materials after air drying and isolating the area. A small shield isolates the tooth, keeping it dry and clean throughout the process.
- After this entire process, your first visit ends with close dressing done by material like cotton or temporary cement.
In your second visit,
The following steps are performed by your dentist –
- Removal of temporary dressing
- May take X-ray and examines the area to be treated
- Cleaning and shaping of the area by using different files and Sodium Hypo chloride solution.
- Close dressing using temporary cement.
In your third visit,
- The dentist examines the previously treated tooth, removes the temporary filling, and ensures that everything’s in good condition.
- This final visit of your RCT ends with filling and sealing the drilled area with permanent cement.
After the completion of RCT, it is advised to have a cap or crown over the tooth. This ensures that the tooth strength remains and can be used as before. This means, your Root Canal Treatment is successful!
The functioning, look and feel of your natural teeth is irreplaceable.
Your smile can last a lifetime, with the right care and treatment.