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Health and Fitness

What is Root Canal Therapy? And 3 Reasons Why You Should Get It Done

Root canal therapy, or endodontic treatment, is a procedure that saves the affected tooth from needing to be removed. This procedure helps in repairing the inner chamber of the tooth that has been damaged due to infection. It is an invasive procedure but painless and doesn’t take much time to complete.

The root canal is located inside the center of your tooth and its primary function is to protect the pulp (or nerve) chamber and blood vessels located there. If these are not protected properly, there’s a risk of infection which can lead to serious consequences such as losing the tooth if left untreated. Root canal therapy might sound scary but it’s actually a simple procedure that can save your natural teeth from getting removed. Let’s learn more about why you should get it done sooner rather than later.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy, also called endodontic treatment, is a procedure that helps in saving the affected tooth from needing to be removed. This procedure helps in repairing the inner chamber of the tooth that has been damaged due to infection. Root canal therapy is done when the pulp inside the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This can happen due to a broken tooth, trauma, or cracks in the tooth due to excessive biting pressure.

In such cases, the pulp inside the tooth becomes infected and starts swelling up, causing immense pain. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the entire jaw and head, leading to a lifetime of medication and possible loss of the tooth. Root canal therapy is done to clean the infected tooth from all the bacteria present inside the root canal and to remove the infected pulp along with the root of the tooth.

The common method of treatment

Root canal treatment often referred to as endodontic therapy, is a procedure used to clean out the pulp of a tooth that has become infected or broken inside. You may have heard the term “tooth extraction” when someone has a broken tooth, but root canal therapy is a less invasive and more common method of treatment that can save teeth that would otherwise be extracted because of the risk of infection.

During root canal therapy, the dentist will remove any infected or decayed portions of the tooth and then clean out the entire inside of the tooth, including the root canals, with special tools and cleaning solutions. Once the canals are cleaned out, the filling material is placed inside the tooth to seal the canals off from bacteria. This helps the tooth stay strong and heal itself.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

If you’re fortunate enough to catch a broken tooth early, you can try self-treatment at home and then schedule a visit with your dentist for a root canal if necessary. But if the infection and pain are too severe, you may need to go straight to a root canal appointment. In either case, you can expect some discomfort, but your dentist will make you as comfortable as possible during the procedure with a local anesthetic to numb the area.

A root canal procedure involves accessing the tooth through the crown or gum line. The nerve and the pulp are removed and the opening is irrigated and filled with a sealant which is then allowed to set. A crown or filling is placed to secure the tooth.

Why Is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?

Root canal therapy is typically necessary when a tooth has been broken or is infected. The pulp of a tooth (the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves) is normally infection-free. Infection inside the pulp can cause severe pain and lead to tooth loss if not treated promptly. A tooth infection can start when the tooth is cracked, has decay, or gets hit by something. Bacteria from the inside of your mouth can enter the tooth and begin to multiply, causing an infection.

Infections in the teeth are referred to as dental caries and can cause a toothache. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissues and cause swelling, pain, and even tooth loss. Root canal therapy may be recommended if the tooth has an infection, if the tooth is decayed and infected, or if a large filling has failed or broken off, causing the tooth to become painful.

Possible Side Effects of Root Canal Therapy

The most common side effects of a root canal procedure are swelling, pain, and a feeling of the tooth being loose. The swelling and pain should go away in a few days. In rare cases, a tooth may become loose after a root canal procedure. However, this can be easily corrected with a small wire to re-tighten the tooth. Root canal therapy can cause long-term issues as well.

These are rare, but you should be aware that they can occur. They include dry mouth, an increased risk of tooth decay, and the potential for the tooth to become brittle. Your dentist may recommend daily flossing and dental sealants to help with prevention.

3 Reasons to Get Root Canal Therapy

If you are thinking about why you should get root canal therapy; there are a few important reasons you should know.

– The most important reason to get root canal therapy is to save your tooth. Once the infection has spread to the tooth’s root, the only way to save it is to remove the diseased pulp and replace it with a filling material that will help to prevent reinfection.

– Another reason to get root canal therapy is that it is the least invasive treatment option available. That’s why many dentists recommend root canal therapy over tooth extraction when treating a tooth with an infected root.

– The last reason to get this therapy is that it can be done at any time and doesn’t require any special diet or lifestyle changes. This can be done at any age and is not limited to people with a specific health condition or diet. It is one of the most effective and simple treatments for a tooth with an infected root.

Should You Go for Root Canal?

If you are certain about the symptoms of an infected tooth and have ruled out other possible reasons for its pain, then you should definitely go for therapy. It is one of the most common procedures performed by dentists and oral surgeons alike.

The treatment itself is not complicated, but it is necessary to be aware of the entire process before going in for root canal therapy. This is recommended for teeth with persistent pain that is not subsiding with home care such as oil pulling and warm salt water gargles. It is also recommended for teeth with an acute infection that causes swelling, redness, and pain.

Things to Remember Before Getting Root Canal Therapy

– Make sure to visit a qualified dentist to get root canal therapy. Dentists who perform this are called endodontists.

– If you want to get this therapy done, schedule a consultation with a dental specialist. Do not wait until the infection worsens and spreads to the surrounding areas.

– Get an X-ray of the affected tooth to know the state of the infection. The dentist will also conduct a thorough assessment of your teeth and gums to detect other potential infections.

– Go for thorough cleaning of your mouth before getting it. This will reduce the risk of infection and make the procedure less painful.

– You can also use mouthwash or lozenges containing essential oils such as clove, cinnamon, and eucalyptus. These have anti-inflammatory properties and will help in reducing the pain caused by the infection.

Conclusion

Root canal therapy is not a painful procedure and can save the tooth from being extracted and replaced with a dental crown. Though getting done is an invasive process, it is an effective treatment for a very painful condition.

So, if you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, don’t wait to get yourself checked. Visit your dentist as soon as possible, so that the infection can be treated in time and you can save your tooth from getting extracted.

References:

1-Self medication for oral health problems in Cameroon

Publishing Date: 7 December 2020

doi: doi.org/10.1111/j.1875-595X.2011.00058.x

2-Triple antibiotic paste in root canal therapy

Publishing Date: 2012 Aug

doi: 10.4103/0975-7406.100214

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