Root Canal Treatment

Why does a tooth require root canal treatment (R.C.T.)?

Basically tooth is made of three layers, outer strong and hard enamel, intermediate tough dentin and inner soft pulp that contains the nerve ending, blood vessels and others cells which maintain the vitality of the tooth. When dental decay is allowed to progress, it results in a deep cavity that may reach the pulp thereby exposing the pulp to the exterior. Exposure of the pulp may also occur due to erosion or trauma like fracture of the tooth. Whenever the pulp is exposed to the exterior, it develops inflammation and infection. A tooth that has its pulp exposed by decay, trauma, etc has two treatment options; extraction of the tooth or retain the tooth by undertaking a root canal treatment. Such an endodontically treated tooth can function normally in mouth. If untreated the tooth develops pain, swelling, etc, and the infection can spread deeper into the bone

When is root canal filling indicated?

When there is deep carious cavity reaching the pulp causing pulpitis or apical infection, fracture of tooth involving pulp or severe attrition of teeth leading to pulp exposure root canal cleaning and filling are indicated.

Teeth Decay

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Teeth Decay

Root canal cleaned and XRay taken to measure the length of canal

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Root canal cleaned and XRay taken to measure the length of canal



Root Canal filling done

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Root filling done

Root Canal filling done

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Root filling done


What do you mean by nerve removal treatment of the tooth?

Once decay reaches the pulp of the tooth, it gets infected and the tooth has to undergo root canal treatment. It involves complete removal of the pulp, cleansing and filling with inert material. Since pulp contains few nerve endings which are removed, it is commonly referred to as nerve removal treatment

Do root canal treated teeth fracture?

No, a tooth with minimal destruction that is well restored does not fracture in normal usage. However, a grossly destroyed tooth may fracture if it is not protected by a metal crown.

Can decay occur on root canal treated teeth?

Root canal treated teeth are not immune to decay; hence, proper brushing and oral hygiene maintenance is necessary to keep decay away.

Is it true that a root canal treated tooth does not have any sensation or pain?

As the nerve supply to the tooth is removed the tooth does not respond to heat, cold, etc, like other normal teeth but continues to function like other teeth in the mouth.

Can a tooth with an abscess or infection that has spread beyond the root be saved by R.C.T.

Once the pulp gets infected and adequate treatment is not carried out there is a chance that the infection may spread to the underlying bone. In such cases the infection forms an abscess in the bone which is nothing but collection of pus. Such an abscessed tooth can be saved by antibiotic therapy followed by root canal treatment. However, these patients required to be followed up regularly by X rays and clinical check up until complete healing take place.

Is there an age limit for R.C.T.?

A tooth that is completely developed can be treated by routine root canal treatment. However in young children the roots of the teeth are still developing. In such children it may be required to first undertake treatment to develop the root or close its wide open end and then complete the root canal treatment.

Does all root canal filled teeth need crowns?

By doing root canal treatment the cavity becomes wide and the tooth becomes brittle. To protect the tooth and avoid fracture of the tooth crowns are placed. But when the clinical height of the crown is small the retention of the crown may be a problem.

Can root canal treatment be performed in milk teeth?

Yes it is done on primary teeth when the decay involves the pulp.

How many visits does it take to complete root canal treatment?

Depending on the involved tooth and infection status it may take multiple visits or can be completed in a single sitting.

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