As a result of dental damage, the nerves inside our teeth can cause us strong, uninterrupted pain. If the problem is caused by decay accessing the root, fracture, disease or any other type of serious problem then we require root canal treatment. Take a closer look at the treatment now!
What causes the pain?
The outer defensive line of our teeth is called enamel, which is one of the hardest tissues in our body. Unfortunately, due to acidic pH levels in our mouths after eating, it thins over time and provides a means for decay to attack the interior of the teeth. The decay first attacks the dentine layer before penetrating it and then reaching the pulp.
Pain can already be felt when decay is at the dentine layer. Here, in the dentine, a fluid starts to flow (since dentine is 10% water), which mechanically stimulates the inner nerves.
Unfortunately, the problem rarely stops at the dentine layer. The decay and disease usually reaches the pulp, a serious situation which causes the patient constant pain.
Read the signs!
The need for root canal treatment is always signalled by severe pain. This shooting, pulsating pain, in milder cases, only appears during the consumption of cold and sweet foods/drinks but once the causes have disappeared the pain disappears too. However, in more severe cases blunt pain felt during the day is replaced by a way more powerful pulsating, shooting, straining pain at night (when in a horizontal posture).
If you have experienced any of signs mentioned above, you are well advised to see your dentist.
A brief about the treatment
So the aim of root canal treatment is for the dentist to eradicate any decay and disease which has reached the pulp before removing any dead or diseased nerves and veins. So, in the vital part of the treatment the dentist completely cleans the root canals then hermetically seals them using a specia material - preventing the infiltration of bacteria.
Now, let’s go through things step by step:
The health check
As is the case with any type of dental intervention, the first step regarding root canal treatment involves efficacious assessment of the situation, in this case any affected teeth and their immediate environment. The most effective means of appraisal involves taking an X-ray, which informs the dentist immediately as to how serious the problem is.
Dentists conduct root canal treatment using local anaesthesia in order that the patient doesn’t feel any pain during the treatment.
Treatment of decay
The first step of treatment involves removing the root source of decay, which is managed by using a special drill; at the same time the dentist opens the pulp chamber to allow gases causing pain to exit. Using an electronic length-defining device the dentist establishes the length of the pulp as this constitutes a particularly important factor prior to and during subsequent treatment.
Treatment of the pulp
During this stage the dentist deals with the essentials of the treatment: the cleaning of the affected tooth’s pulp chamber and root canal. In order to do so the dentist employs several specific tools of different thickness and surface type. At this point of intervention the dentist removes any dead or diseased nerves and veins.
Cleaning and sterilization
Having opened the canals, the next step involves cleaning them with disinfectant fluid and, when necessary, with medication.
It’s recommended that root canals are left exposed during the healing process, whenever possible, to facilitate the easy egress of septic fluids.
Filling the root
Once the tooth’s environment is completely disease free the final phase of treatment can be administered: the filling-in of the treated tooth’s root with a specific root material using the “lateral-condensating method.”
This method involves pushing the root filling material (guttapercha) into the root canal, then sealing the gum tissue using a dental tool made specifically for this purpose.
Guttapercha is a caoutchouc-like material, produced from the milk-sap of the tropical tree Isonandra gutta. It is used in dentristy to replace the pulp extracted during root canal treatment so as to fill-in and hermetically seal the root canal. In contemporary dentistry it is considered to be the best root-filling material available.
This material fills the root canal up to its maximum, sealing it hermetically against any bacterial invasion.
Sealing the surface
Once the dentist has finished cleaning and sealing the root canal they need to restore the crown. Previously decayed areas are filled-in with surface stuffing, which constitutes a temporary filling at this point. The complete and final filling takes place following consolidation of the root filling.
Finally, the pain has gone!
Following root canal treatment teeth may remain sensitive to the bite for 1-2 days, but any pre-treatment disease and attendant shooting pains will be immediately consigned to the past.