Are you unable to concentrate on your work due to a toothache? Are you having throbbing pain in your teeth or gums? You visited your dentist, and you are at your wit’s end as they have prescribed a root canal procedure? Just relax. There is no need to be scared as root canal treatment, a.k.a RCT is the most common procedure to treat a diseased or damaged tooth.

Thousands of teeth are treated and saved by RCT procedure annually each year. The procedure gives relief from pain and makes your teeth healthy again. The root canal is an important procedure performed by dentists to save teeth and to prevent unnecessary extractions.

Root canal 3

There is a general perception among patients that root canal procedures will be painful. But modern anesthesia options and technological advances have made root canal a mostly pain-free procedure.

Recent stats have shown that patients are more than six times more likely to describe root canal as a pain-free experience than patients who recently had an extraction.

Hence you need to understand the benefits of RCT before deciding whether or not it is right for you.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is primarily an endodontic procedure. The treatment involves the removal of the soft center of the tooth, which is also known as the pulp. The procedure is done to save the teeth. The pulp consists of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that help the tooth grow.

Root canal 5

Your dentist evaluates the pulp of the infected or inflamed tooth, and when the evaluation reveals that the pulp of your tooth is diseased, they might suggest a root canal procedure. Interestingly your fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp because your tooth continues to be nourished by the soft tissue surrounding it.

Purpose of Root Canal Treatment

A root canal is performed when your tooth pulp is injured, inflamed, or infected. The crown of the affected tooth can remain intact even if the pulp is dead. Removal of the infected or injured pulp is the best way to preserve the tooth’s structure.

The pulp can get damaged due to multiple reasons, namely

  • An untreated cavity resulting in deep decay
  • A tooth injury
  • Multiple dental procedures on the same tooth
  • A crack or chip in the tooth

The most common signs and symptoms of the damaged pulp include lingering tooth sensitivity to cold or hot things and sharp pain when chewing or biting. Other symptoms might include pimples on gums, painful or swollen gums, deep decay, or darkened gums.

Steps of a Root Canal Procedure

A root canal procedure is relatively simple. Your dentist will first clean out the infected pulp and fill the canals in your teeth. After the procedure, you might need a temporary crown. A professional dentist or endodontist can only carry out your root canal procedure.

Root canal 7

An endodontist is primarily a specialized dentist specializing in diagnosing, preventing, and treating injuries and diseases related to the dental pulp or your tooth nerve.

The procedure will be followed in order to get the root canal treatment done include:

1 Preparing the Area for Root Canal Treatment

Your dentist will take an X-ray of your infected tooth. The X-ray will help check the detailed condition of your tooth. It will also help check if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding area.

Then your dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the surrounding area where the root canal will be carried out. Your dentist will anesthetize the area, making you feel more relaxed. In order to keep the area dry and free of saliva, your dentist will place a rubber dam around the tooth.

2 Accessing and Cleaning the Roots

Next, your dentist will drill down your tooth and get access to the area. They will then remove the bacteria, pulp, and decayed nerve tissue from the area. A series of root canal files are used to clean out the pulp chamber and root canals.

Root canal 6

While the scrubbing and scraping are carried out, an antiseptic and antibacterial solution is used to clean and disinfect the canals. The solution is then sprayed in the area to flush away the debris, thus eliminating the bacteria and treating the infected canals.

3 Shaping the Canals

Your dentist needs to place filling material in the root canals at this step. First, your tooth canals are shaped. Your dentist then uses tiny instruments to shape the canals. This shaping is required to make them ready to receive the filling material. Once they are shaped, your dentist will clean the canals a second time.

4 Filling the Canals

Your dentist uses a filling material to fill the canals of your teeth. Your dentist will further add adhesive cement to seal the canals. This is probably because sealed canals keep bacteria out. Some dentists give a second appointment in order to fill the interior of the tooth.

 

A sealer pastes together with a rubber compound called gutta-percha is placed inside the root canal. The filling will be put in your tooth to close the access hole that was initially created at the beginning of treatment.

5 Filling to the Access Hole

The next step in the process is sealing the hole made to access the canals. The tooth filling prevents harmful bacteria from entering the inside sections of the tooth.

6 Healing and Antibiotics

After the filling is completed, your dentist will send you a prescription for antibiotics. These prescribed medications kill the rest of the infection in the affected tooth.

You will also be provided with post-care instructions. It is normal for people to experience some discomfort on the first day, especially after the procedure. If you have any pain and discomfort, you can take over-the-counter pain medications to reduce your pain. 

7 Adding the Crown

If your root canal is done on a back tooth, meaning a molar, or in case your tooth was significantly damaged, you might have to come back for a crown some other day.

Root canal 4

Your dentist will place a dental crown around the treated tooth as it adds stability and strength to the affected tooth. The permanent crown is prepared so that it matches your existing teeth. Once the crown is placed, your damaged tooth can function like your natural tooth.

Benefits of Root Canal Treatment

A Virtually Pain-Free Procedure

No doubt, the biggest benefit of root canal treatment is that you can get rid of any pain or infection in the mouth. The RCT can remove pressure from inflammation in the pulp of the tooth. You can seamlessly get back to your normal routine without any more pain or irritation within two days.

Root canal 2

Through this endodontic treatment, you can not only retain your natural smile but can continue eating the foods you enjoy eating the most. If you maintain good dental hygiene, a root canal can last you a lifetime without any issues. The procedure is virtually pain-free and leaves you with less discomfort during recovery.

B Efficient and Cost-Effective Procedure

Sometimes, it might seem that tooth extraction would be the most convenient and affordable choice. But in reality, extraction requires more follow-up appointments than RCT.

In addition, post tooth extraction, patients have to get a bridge, denture, or implant, which would require a higher cost and time to complete the treatment.

Hence, we see RCT as efficient and cost-effective. Nowadays, several dental insurance plans cover the treatment, which makes root canal more affordable as opposed to extraction.

C Visually Appealing Results

You must note that aesthetics are important for root canal patients. Teeth that have become infected or are damaged may turn yellow, brown, or even black due to bacterial build-up in the pulp.

This tooth discoloration cannot be removed with a regular teeth whitening treatment. So, the preferred solution is to place a crown on the tooth. Crowning the tooth will cover the discoloration and additionally help regain the natural smile.

The final result of a root canal is a crown that not only looks like your natural tooth but will also function like it.

The crowns function like your natural teeth and are visually appealing too.

D Fast & Quick Recovery

Another great takeaway of this treatment is that it takes care of the problem of infection very quickly. You can recover completely within 24 to 48 hours from the treatment.

E Other Factors

As you might have seen there are many other tangible benefits of saving your natural tooth with this treatment  which include natural appearance. Chewing food is more efficient with your natural teeth than with an artificial tooth. Moreover, you can use normal biting force and sensation with natural teeth post the root canal procedure. 

The presence of your natural tooth protects other teeth from strain and excessive wear.

Root Canal Procedure Cost

The complexity of your problem and which tooth is affected will decide the cost of the treatment. The cost is always higher for the molars as they are located inside and are more difficult to treat.

Nowadays, most dental insurance policies provide coverage for endodontic treatment. But it is advisable to cross-check with your insurance companies.

The Bottomline 

When your dentist treats the infection in your tooth through RCT, they ensure that the infection will not spread to the jawbone or even to other parts of the body. As you might be aware there are a number of major health issues throughout your body that originate from dental issues. Therefore, it is important that you do not delay the RCT for infected teeth.

A modern root canal procedure can be completed in only one or two appointments. It usually depends on your tooth condition. Technological advances have made the procedure highly effective and relatively painless over the years.

Do not worry and go for the treatment immediately as and when suggested. You will be back to living your regular lives smiling, chewing, and biting with ease in no time.