What is a Root Canal?

//What is a Root Canal?

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    toothThe root canal is a naturally occurring space within the tooth that runs from the base to the middle. Root canal carries pulp, which consists of nerves and blood vessels. So a root canal is the place that is the life of the tooth. In other words, a healthy root canal makes the tooth vital.

    Pulp is damaged when there is a deep dental caries or fractured tooth. If left untreated the pulp forms pus at the root tip in the lower jaw bone or mandible due to the bacterial invasion. An abscess is formed, which destroys the jaw bone and produces severe pain. In these instances, the condition can only be treated by a tooth extraction or a root canal treatment. If the tooth can be saved, a root canal treatment is often considered the best option since the root of the tooth is being treated. Extractions are when there is damage beyond repair and the tooth has to pulled out. This is later replaced with a dental implant that resembles the look and feel of a real tooth.

    The Root Canal Procedure:
    The actual root canal treatment is a painless procedure since the entire process is done under local anesthesia. An X-ray will be taken prior to the treatment and during the procedure if needed, to understand the depth of the caries or fracture.

    • Isolation of the treatment area with a rubber dam kit. This procedure helps in the ease of procedure and prevents any mixing of saliva with the fluid from the motor.
    • A cavity is prepared with the help of an aerator. Using a root canal file, pulp is removed and the entire root canal is cleaned.
    • Depending on the patient’s convenience, the procedure can be completed in two to three visits. When a cavity is sealed, a temporary filling material combined with a soothing medicine. The medicine protects the tooth from further spreading of the infection.
    • In the next visit, the temporary filling material is removed and is replaced with a bio compatible material named gutta percha. Over the gutta percha, a regular cement filling is done followed by a crown.

    Now the infected root canal is cleaned, medicated and sealed permanently. The treated tooth needs some additional care for the next few days.

    • As you were given local anesthesia, the treatment area remains numb for some time after the treatment. Avoid chewing with the same area in this period.
    • Take a pain killer and antibiotics as prescribed.
    • After reaching home, keep an ice pack for five minutes every hour to avoid swelling.
    • Eat a regular but a soft food-based diet for two days.
    • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol for the next 24 hours.
    • Rinse mouth with warm salt water for the next two days.

    If the root canal treatment is done in two visits, give extra care to save the temporary filling from coming out until the next visit. In case of any complications noticed after the treatment, consult your dentist.


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