Root Canal Treatment ( Nerve Treatment)
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, and any decay are removed. The remaining space is filled with special, medicated dental materials, which will help restore the tooth’s function.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
- Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
- Injury or trauma to the tooth
What are the sign and symptom of a root canal problem?
- Lingering sensitivity / toothache to hot and cold stimuli, even after the sensation has been removed
- Unprovoked throbbing toothache that painkillers do not resolve
- Persistent pain when the affected tooth is in contact with food or the opposing teeth.
- Severe pain at night or when lying down
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
- Swelling and/ or tenderness of the gums
- Sometimes, none are present
Extraction is the only alternative. The extracted tooth will have to be replaced by a denture, a bridge, or an implant. Otherwise, the neighbouring teeth will move into the space, causing problems with eating and cleaning. These problems may lead to gum disease and the development of new cavities.
The success rate of root canal treatment varies from 85 to 95%. This depends on several factors, for instance, the extent of the infection, response of the individual to treatment, and possible complications such as the presence of root cracks or fractures.
Advantages of Root Canal Treatment
Root Canal Treatment preserves the tooth that would otherwise be extracted. Although the pulp has been removed, the tooth remains anchored in the bone and can be used for biting and chewing.
What is the process of Root Canal treatment?
- Pre-treatment evaluation and Treatment Planning.
- Examination & Diagnosis
- X-ray ( OPG or CT for more complex cases) and U/L Study models
- local anaesthesia only
- An opening is made in the crown of the tooth.
- The pulp is removed from the pulp chamber and the root canals. The canals are then cleaned.
- The canals are filled with an inert material and the access opening is covered with a permanent filling. In many cases, a crown is placed over the tooth.
Root Canal Treatment can sometimes be completed in one visit but often require several visits. Back teeth usually have longer treatment time because they have more canals and are harder to access.
During Root Canal Treatment, X-rays are taken at each stage to assess the lengths and positions of the canals.
If I have the signs and symptoms of the root canal problem, can I delay seeking dental treatment ?
Immediate attention is advised. A proper examination and diagnosis will be conducted to ensure the best treatment plan. After the 1st root canal treatment that involves the removal of diseased nerves, the unbearable throbbing pain will ultimately be gone and you will feel much better.
Local anesthesia is required during the procedure . A very small percentage of patients will feel mild discomfort because of the existing inflammation/infection. Some patients do feel slight sensitivity for the first few days after treatment but the discomfort will diminish with time. Analgesics/painkillers will be prescribed.
Pre- Root Canal Treatment Precaution?
Not necessary unless due to medical consideration. A thorough scaling and polishing is always advised.
Post-Root Canal Treatment Care
After root canal treatment, your tooth is weakened and will need restoring. If you do not have it restored, your tooth will be subjected to a high chance of crack or fracture. The best restoration after root canal treatment is dental crown.
How soon can I eat and function after Root Canal Treatment?
Numbness from the administration of local anaesthesia should wear off within 1 to 2 hours. It is recommended to only eat afterwards when sensation returns.
How to take care of my Root Canal Treated tooth?
- MOST IMPORTANT . Give your treated tooth a protective crown.
- Clean twice a day using a small soft-bristled toothbrush and floss daily to remove any plaque.
- Clean after each meal.
- Interdental brushes
- Visit your Dentist every 6 months for a routine check-up
- Re –infection of treated root canals
- Failure of the cement or incomplete seal of the canal
- Accessory canals
- Cracked tooth from start
- Chipped tooth or porcelain
- Crack or fractured tooth because of delayed restoration with dental crown
Patient Cost for Root Canal Treatment
Affordable. Cost of root canal treatment is definitely lower than that of bridges or implants. Most importantly, you still get to preserve your original tooth!