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What is a Root Canal Treatment?

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

Root canal treatments are one of the most dreaded procedures in the dental office. Although in reality, it is as painless as a dental filling procedure.

Degree of cavity proximity to the pulp

A root canal treatment is a procedure carried out to save a badly infected and damaged tooth.

When the pulp i.e the area where the tooth receives its blood circulation and nerves are infected or traumatized, the pulp and nerves are removed/cut off and the canals are cleaned and filled following which a crown may be placed.

Although a root canal-treated tooth is equivalent to a dead tooth, its functionality is not affected by this as the nerves and pulp only play the role of temperature detection.

Signs that your tooth needs a root canal treatment:

-Sensitivity on having hot/cold or sweet foods.

-Sharp, shooting pain during eating especially at night time.

-Pus oozing from the side of decayed tooth gum.

-Trauma, crack, or fracture of the tooth.

-Gum disease leading to pus around tooth roots.

Steps in root canal treatment:

  1. The first sitting involves making an intraoral x-ray of the tooth to detect the damage and degree of infection involved. The dentist will anesthetize and drill the tooth to access the canals and remove the pulp and nerves of the tooth and seal the tooth with temporary cement and medication.

  2. The second sitting involves cleaning the canals using a series of instruments called files to shape the canals and remove debris using sodium hypochlorite and placement of temporary cement. This might be done in the first sitting also depending upon your tooth condition and degree of infection.

  3. The third step consists of the placement of rubber-like material called gutta-percha into the root canals and sealing them, above which a permanent cement is placed.

  4. This completes the root canal treatment but in some cases, the second step is followed by placement of calcium hydroxide medicament and close monitoring when the infection is of a larger extent.

  5. After the root canal procedure, most teeth would require a crown placement to enhance the longevity of the tooth.

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