root canal 3d view

What is a root canal? Everything you need to know.

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Table of Contents

Root canal treatment is an often uncomplicated procedure to ease dental pain and conserve your teeth. Patients commonly need a root canal when there is inflammation or infection in the roots of a tooth. Throughout root canal treatment, an endodontist who specializes in such treatment thoroughly removes the pulp inside the tooth, cleans up, disinfects and forms the root canals, and puts a filling to seal the area.

A root canal (likewise understood as an endodontic treatment) is a primary treatment, one that specialists deal with every day. Before engaging in any dental work, it is necessary to know the realities about root canals.

Given that clients are provided anesthesia, a root canal isn’t more unpleasant than a regular dental procedure, such as a filling or getting a knowledge tooth eliminated.

When do I need a root canal?

There are a few symptoms that imply you may need a root canal.

  • Strong pain which grown when you lay down

  • Serious discomfort while chewing or biting

  • Pimples on the gums

  • Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the experience has been removed

  • Swollen or tender gums

  • Deep decay or darkening of the gums

These might be the clinical situations which need root canal treatment:

  • Problems from a previous filling

  • Cracked tooth with pulp exposure

  • Sensitive teeth (root filling is the last choice) read more about sensitive teeth

  • Necrotic tooth (the nerve was infected and “killed” from bacterias)

  • Preventive root canal treatment before the placement of a crown

Tooth anatomy

“Endo” is the Greek word for “within” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment deals with the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic therapy. To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to understand something about the anatomy of the tooth.

Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a tough layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. This soft tissue is composed of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp provides nutrition for the tooth and is what makes the tooth vital or alive.

It extends from the crown of the tooth to the pointer of the roots, where it links to the tissues surrounding the root. The nerve is necessary during a tooth’s growth and advancement. However, once a tooth is fully mature, it can make it through without the pulp, because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

The space inside the tooth from the center, called the pulp chamber, takes a trip down the length of the root, called a “canal”, or, more particularly, a root canal. Human teeth may have one to four root canals, depending upon the anatomy of the tooth.

Additional canals might branch off from the primary canal, called “accessory canals.” The variety of canals and anatomy can vary among teeth. The tiny canals include the pulp of the tooth, likewise typically referred to as the nerve, which stems from the pulp chamber. Any injury or infection of the nerve will lead to the need for root canal therapy.

What happens during root canal treatment?

Before the treatment, however, your dental professional will advise you as to the number of consultations necessary to complete the canal. If you had an infection or abscess in the tooth, the dental practitioner might select to have you begin antibiotics before finishing the root canal.

The primary step in the treatment is to take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and figure out if there are any signs of infection in a surrounding bone.

1. Anesthesia

Your dental practitioner will begin the appointment by giving you a local anesthetic to “numb” the involved tooth. Anesthesia might not be essential because the nerve is dead. However, most dental experts still anesthetize the location to make the client more unwinded and at ease.

2. Positioning rubber dam

The dental professional will put a rubber dam over your mouth. This plastic shield, made from either latex or non-latex materials, is utilized to keep the tooth separated from your saliva and extremely dry before the last actions are required to finish the treatment. The dental practitioner will use different chemical services to decontaminate within the tooth. (read more about what is a rubber dam)

3. Access to the infected pulp and cleaning all the root canals

Next, the dental professional will start the treatment by drilling a small hole through the tooth into the area called the pulp chamber; this is where the nerve of the tooth is situated. Your dentist will start using small files, which are designed to eliminate the nerve from the tooth and any contaminated tissue.

root canal access
Illustration of access to the pulp chamber.

The clearing out process is accomplished utilizing root canal files. A series of these files of increasing diameter are each subsequently placed into the gain access to the hole and worked down the complete length of the tooth to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals.

The whole nerve must be eliminated to avoid toothaches after the procedure and re-infection of the tooth, which would result in the requirement for retreatment or extraction of the tooth. To prevent this, the dental practitioner needs to get as near to the peak (apex) of the tooth, to eliminate all of the nerves.

4. Dry the canals and sealing with gutta-percha

Once the dental practitioner is positive that the whole tooth has been cleaned out, the tooth is dried with tiny absorbent paper points. When entirely dry, the dental practitioner will position a product (called “gutta-percha”) into the tooth. Gutta-percha is a rubber material developed to seal the within of the tooth.

Filling root canal
Sealing illustration of the root canals: the gutta-percha should reach the apex (peak) of the root canal.

5. Positioning of a short term restoration.

If your root canal is performed by an endodontist, a dental expert that concentrates on root canals, he will put a short-term restoration and send you back to your basic dental professional for the next steps. Opportunities are, your dental practitioner will suggest having a crown put on to the tooth. Because the nerve and blood supply to the tooth has been taken away, the tooth may end up being breakable with time, leading to a cracked tooth.

Typically a post and core procedure will be done before making the crown to bring back the tooth to its initial kind and function.

When the anesthetic has subsided, your tooth might ache from the procedure. Your dentist might recommend a discomfort reliever to take in your home and depending upon the circumstances behind your root canal. Prescription antibiotics might be prescribed to clean up any remaining infection in the tooth. If you were on antibiotics before the procedure, your dental expert would instruct you to complete the remaining medication.

What is the goal of a root canal treatment?

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is terribly rotted or ends up being infected. Thanks to a root canal treatment, the nerve and pulp are gotten rid of, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned up and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will end up being contaminated, and abscesses might form. All the surrounding tissues may be affected if the decay keeps going on without being treated.

In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause: 

  • Embed Asset Override

  • Swelling that may infect other locations of the face, neck, or head

  • Bone loss around the pointer of the root 

  • Drainage problems are extending externally from the root. 

How to prevent my teeth from root canals?

Possible ways to avoid requiring a root canal: 

  • Constant flossing

  • Avoid chewing on ice

  • Limit citrus juices that include high levels of acidity

  • Brush at least two times a day 

  • Limitation consumption of tough foods that require a great deal of chewing

  • Floss and usage mouthwash after meals

  • Drink plenty of water.

Read also: 10 foods to avoid to get rid of cavities and important info about cavities.

Is root canal treatment effective?

Root canal treatment is highly effective; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate.

Numerous teeth repaired with a root canal can last a lifetime. Likewise, because the last action of the root canal treatment is the application of a restoration such as a crown or a filling, it will not be evident to observers that a root canal was carried out.

The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth drawn out and changed with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and avoid surrounding teeth from moving.

The takeaway

There are 2 main disinformations about root canal treatments:

  1. They are low success therapy.
  2. They are more painful than any other dental treatment.

Both of these 2 mentioned things are wrong! Root canal treatment can last all life long if performed well (95% success rate) and followed also by the application of a crown on the top of the treated tooth.
The painful story is not true, in fact, thanks to the anesthesia all the process its completely painless, or almost.
Root canal treatment may be long and boring, this is true!
Don’t be afraid if one week after the treatment you still have some sensibility when you chew the food, this may be normal. Keep in touch with your dentist if you feel something wrong is going on.
Last but not the least, get Dental Coach on your smartphone to be a master of your oral health.

Find an Endodontist:

American Association of Endodontists

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