Monday, September 5, 2011


Nowadays the word “Root Canal Treatment” has become very common among the people.  When we generally talk about our dental issues most of us say that they have undergone a Root Canal Treatment. Where many of us do not know what it exactly means but might have undergone this treatment. Well, in this article I will give you the exact picture of what is Root Canal and under what dental conditions it is done.

What is Root Canal Treatment?

Before I answer to this question, let me give you a brief idea of our tooth anatomy. As we all know that our tooth comprises of four main layers, the Enamel, Dentin, cementum and Pulp. Enamel is the outer most layer of the tooth which is the hardest substance in the human body. The dentin is the second layer beneath enamel which covers the pulp. It is a calcified tissue with tiny tubules. The cementum is the calcified substance covering the dentin of the root of a tooth. The pulp is the most vital part in the center of the tooth underneath the enamel and dentin that contains nerves and blood vessels that supply the tooth.

Root canal treatment is removal of inflamed or infected tissue from the inside of a tooth, cleaning, filling and sealing the empty space.

Why is a Root Canal Treatment done?

When there is a decay in the tooth, it should be immediately treated otherwise it penetrates deep reaches the dentin and then into the pulp. Generally we experience pain in a tooth when the infection reaches the pulp as mentioned earlier, pulp is the vital part of the tooth.  This happens when the pulp is exposed to bacteria in the mouth resulting in inflammation and infection of and ultimately death of the pulp. Root canal treatment removes the dead pulp and promotes healing of the surrounding bone and tissues at the root apex.

What are the symptoms that indicate Root Canal Treatment?

Severe and continuous pain while chewing food, drinking very cold or very hot liquids and may cause sleep disturbances.
Tooth discoloration is of course not an absolute indication for Root Canal Treatment but its need should be suspected and ruled out.
Swelling of the gums due to infection. 

What is the procedure of Root Canal Treatment?

1)    An opening is made through the crown of the tooth to gain an access into the root canals.
2)    Then once access is gained, the dead pulp and tissues in the canal are removed using
       various instruments.
3)    The canals are irrigated with anti bacterial solutions and canals are cleaned and shaped
       to accommodate the filling materials.
4)    Finally the canals are filled with filling materials and sealed.
5)    X-rays are taken before and after the treatment and if needed in between the treatment to
       evaluate the tooth condition.

Is the treatment painful?

Before starting the treatment the area related to the tooth is numbed by giving a local anesthesia. So the treatment is absolutely painless. Sometimes you may experience a mild pain if a severe infection persists. But it is relieved once the infected tissues are removed.

How lengthy is the procedure?

Root canal treatment can be completed in one visit or may sometimes take more than a visit. Depending on the condition of the tooth, if it is a complicated tooth with more than one canal, severe infection, curved canals, position of the tooth in the mouth, in such conditions it may take more visits.

What is next?

Once you are done with the treatment, you should go for a permanent filling of the crown part and then the tooth should be restored with a cap or crown. This is to prevent the tooth from fracture as the tooth becomes brittle after Root Canal Treatment.

What is the alternate for Root Canal Treatment?

The only option you will have is to get the tooth removed. The missing tooth should be replaced with a bridge or an implant. If not then again it is a problem as the adjacent teeth tend to drift to this space causing loss of alignment of the tooth. So it is always advisable to save the natural tooth as they allow you to eat variety of foods necessary to maintain proper nutrition.

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