A root canal treatment is a dental procedure where inflamed, infected or dead pulp is removed from a tooth. It is sometimes an alternative to tooth extraction.
Pulp is a soft material found right at the center of the tooth, it is made up of nerve and blood vessels that supply the teeth and keep them “alive”.
How Long Does It Take?
Simple or very straightforward cases could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. More complex cases could take longer, up to 90 minutes.
The duration of the appointment would depend on factors like:
- what tooth is being worked on (teeth having one root canal versus teeth having multiple canals)
- the anatomy or shape of the roots
- patient factors (like difficulty sitting for long durations or difficulty keeping the mouth open for long periods)
Sometimes, you may need more than one visit to complete your treatment.
Indications For A Root Canal
Some dental conditions can cause injury to the pulp or cause it to become infected. Some of these conditions include the following:
- Tooth decay or cavity
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- A tooth that has undergone multiple dental treatments
What Is The Procedure Like?
The procedure itself is quite straightforward and involves these simple steps:
- Taking an x-ray of the affected tooth to examine if it indeed needs a root canal treatment.
- Administering a local anesthetic to numb any feeling of pain in the area.
- Isolation of the affected tooth with a rubber dam. This helps to facilitate viewing the tooth by itself, as well as keep saliva at bay.
- Access is gained into the pulp chamber by creating a hole at the top of the tooth using a dental bur. The infected or dead pulp is then cleaned out from the pulp chamber and canals.
- When cleaned and shaped, the root canals are filled. This material is safe and biocompatible.
- Finally, the crown of the tooth is restored either with a temporary filling or a permanent filling.
Follow Up Treatment
Root canal treatment can be done in one day (referred to as a one-visit RCT), however, it is possible that the dentist may require a two-visit RCT, based on the assessment of the tooth. Both visits are usually spaced out by one week of each other.
After undergoing a root canal treatment, you should take care of the newly treated tooth. It is encouraged that you avoid chewing on the newly treated tooth before a permanent filling or crown has been placed.
This is because a tooth still undergoing treatment is more fragile and more prone to fracture when compared to when it has been fully restored.
Saving a natural tooth when possible is a better decision, compared to opting for an extraction. When you save a tooth with endodontic treatment, you gain the cosmetic benefit of preserving your natural smile as well as maintain the function of the natural tooth.
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