When you hear the word root canal, you may associate it with severe pain. Many are worried when they hear about the process and will try different ways to avoid it. Many often resort to self-medication due to fear. A root canal is the best restorative dental treatment one can opt for if there is a severe infection in the tooth. Bacteria erodes the root of the tooth by attacking it and the tooth can be saved by this specialised treatment.
This procedure is performed by dentists or orthodontists and requires specialised care. When it is said, the tooth is damaged, it is the core of the tooth that is infected. A tooth has three main parts – the outer protective enamel coating the dentine, the inner pulp which contains the nerve endings and blood vessels that help in tooth nourishment and then the root of the tooth.
The infection starts on the outer protective covering of the teeth. Lack of oral hygiene causes food debris to stick on to the teeth. This food usually gets glued to the grooves of the teeth. It is difficult to wash it away unless one brushes and floss frequently. This food particle will attract bacteria to it. Bacteria works on the food and releases an acid. This acid closely corrodes the top covering of the teeth.
Plaque build-up can also attract bacterial action on the tooth. This will help promote infection on the teeth faster than in a clean tooth. The bacteria work slowly on the teeth surface and infection reaches the pulp or core of the teeth. This region gets damaged and slowly the infection can spread to the roots of the teeth also and the whole teeth are damaged by bacterial action.
With the advancement in technology, the root canal is a complex process made simple. This can be completed in just two consultations with the dentist. Dentists will first determine the condition of the tooth and determine whether the tooth can withstand root canal treatment. This treatment is not painful as it is conducted under anaesthesia. The medicine is administered to numb the surrounding area. After the effect sets in, the procedure starts. The top portion of the teeth is removed and with specialised tools, the inner infected pulp is removed. To make sure the entire infection is flushed out. This makes sure there is no infection remaining in the pulp.
After this cleaning process, the core hollow area of the tooth is sealed with a material. This sealant fills up the surface and it is filled so that no infection can grow in that core. When the infection is removed, the nerve endings are removed. This will make the teeth dead. If the dentists feel there is any infection left, then they will apply medication to stop the infection from spreading.
The teeth do not feel any sensation at this point. Dentists will also place a crown on the top of the teeth to offer protection. The dental crown is placed on top of the treated teeth and the procedure is complete. The teeth that are damaged due to infection are saved by this process. Pain after the procedure is common as a detailed dental procedure has been performed. Dentists will give pain killers to tide over the pain. The wounds will heal in a few weeks time.
Care should be taken on the type of food that is consumed after surgery. Try to avoid food that is hard and chewy as this will bring more pressure to the teeth due to the chewy action. Before and after the procedure, it is important to check with the dentists on the do’s and don’ts. This will help in not compromising oral health further. It is important to pay attention to hygiene practices before and after the procedure. Teeth should be brushed (after they have healed completely) twice a day after meals and flossing should also be done to remove food particles that get stuck between teeth. Oral health helps promote the general health of a person also.
Promoting Oral health
A root canal procedure is needed when there is severe pain in the tooth, there is difficulty in moving the jaws and also painful to chew food. The movement of the jaws and teeth puts pressure on the infected teeth and pain escalates. The teeth can also change its colour- can get darker in colour due to infection. Teeth sensitivity is felt by many and this also effects food habits.
Root canal procedure as explained earlier helps with tooth recovery. The damaged portion of the tooth is removed and the tooth is saved. This helps to stop further damage to the tooth and also to the oral health of the person in general. If the tooth is not saved, then the infection can spread to the neighbouring teeth and decay can spread. It is not just the teeth that are affected, the gum lining and the jaws also can be damaged. The infection can cause inflammation and pain in the hum lining. They can become inflamed and get swollen. Some even have pain coming out of the infected gum lining. One can imagine how severe the issue is if the gum lining and jaws are affected.
Movement of the jaws, be it for chewing food or speech can get compromised. Swelling can also be seen in the cheeks and neck areas especially so even painful even to touch. Oral health is compromised greatly and so also the surrounding areas due to not performing root canal treatment. Furthermore, when the root canal is not performed and the decay reaches the roots, it can cause bone loss around the tip of the root. Infection can sometimes be drained into the blood stream and can reach other susceptible parts of the body as well. The far-reaching issues of decayed tooth and not performing root canal has serious effects on the oral health of a person and also the general health.