Root Canal Treatment (RCT)

What is a dental pulp?

Dental pulp is the soft, innermost, living part of your tooth, present in the root canals and their associated pulp chamber, which are the physical hollows within a tooth. This dental pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.

Care of this tooth part is mainly taken by a specialized dentist (endodontist), who specializes in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp.

What can damage these structures?

Various factors damaging these structures include:

  • Infection due to deep decay
  • Irritation
  • Trauma
  • Fracture of the tooth
  • Inflammation
  • Repeated dental procedures
  • Large fillings

What is meant by root canal treatment (RCT)?

Endodontic therapy or Root canal therapy is a sequence of treatment for the infected, decayed tooth which results in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion.

As the function of the nerve fibers is only sensory (sensation of hot or cold), removal of these structures will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

RCT can be completed in a single sitting or over a course of 2 to 3 sittings. However we mostly prefer single sitting RCT.

Why is RCT advised?

Root canal is generally advised when the dental pulp is damaged. If not treated the tissue within the pulp breaks down and there is rapid growth of bacteria seen, which if left untreated causes abscess (pus) tooth. If it is neglected it can also cause:

  • Widespread swelling to the face, neck, or head
  • Around the tip of the root, there might be loss of bone.
  • Drainage to the exterior of the root opening into the gums or sometimes even through the cheeks.

What preparation is required before starting RCT?

  • X-ray of the tooth will be taken
  • Administering local anaesthetia (optional )
  • Isolation (During treatment the area should be kept dry and free of saliva).

What steps are followed during the treatment?

1250px-Root_Canal_Illustration_Molar

Root Canal Treatment involves the removal of the infected or damaged pulp tissue, followed by subsequent shaping, cleaning, and decontamination of the hollows with small files and irrigating solutions, and the obturation (filling) of the decontaminated canals with an inert filling such as gutta-percha.

Till the root canals are not filled with permanent materials it is advisable to avoid eating from that side. Sometimes post RCT you may experience sensitivity or discomfort.

Saving natural teeth that allows you to eat a wide variety of foods is the best option, if possible.