Treatment of root canal is also known as endodontic treatment. Before knowing about this treatment, it is necessary to know about the root canal and associated structures.
Root canal refers to the interstitial space between the tooth root. The structures that constitute the root canal are nerves, pulp chamber, blood vessels etc.
In root canal treatment, the pulp is removed. The pulp is a tiny tissue layer that is located in the centre of the tooth. A tooth that is infected has damaged or weakened pulp. The removal of pulp becomes necessary in a condition where the pulp infection is so much that there is possibility the tooth completely damaged by the spreading of this infection. Root canal treatment becomes a necessity in this regard. After the pulp is removed, the remaining structure is cleaned. This structure is also appropriately filled and shaped. The root canal thus gets sealed off. Earlier, the entire tooth structure was to be removed when infection spreads. Through this treatment procedure, this disease can be managed & treated by retaining the tooth.
Several factors can cause damage of pulp. Some of these factors are as follows:
- A crack in the tooth.
- A cavity of sufficient depth.
- Tooth injuries such as a strong knock, causing a major distortion of the tooth structure.
Depending upon the severity of the disease, multiple sittings might be required for the successful completion of the root canal treatment. The step by step procedure is described below:
The process begins with the making of a tiny hole either in the crown of a premolar/molar or in the back of the front tooth.
Pulpectomy (removal of pulp from the pulp chamber) is now performed. The empty chamber and the surrounding structures of the root canal are then enlarged & cleaned.
In case of multiple visits, a temporary filling is placed for tooth protection in the interval between the dental visits.
In the successive visits, this temporary filling is removed. The root canal and the pulp chamber is filled permanently. For doing this, a rubbery & tapered material known as the gutta-percha is inserted into structures like canal. The canal is then sealed with cement. A plastic or metal rod is sometimes incorporated for providing plastic support.
In the final step, a crown is placed over the tooth structure for restoring the natural shape.
With proper maintenance, the repaired tooth can even last for the entire lifetime. The tooth can however become a little brittle due to the absence of pulp inside it. Depending on the tooth strength, the dental professional may either suggest a crown or tooth fill.
X-rays of the treated tooth might be taken for checking the success of the treatment. A comparative study of the old and new X-rays can be helpful in this context. Bone loss and regeneration can be detected using these imaging procedures.