Root Canal Treatment – Frequently Asked Questions
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Root canal is also called endodontic therapy. Endodontic treatment deals inside of the tooth.
Endodontics is the branch of clinical dentistry which is associated with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pathosis of the dental pulp and their sequelae.
The main focus of the endodontic treatment involves:
- Maintain vitality of the pulp.
- Preserve and restore the tooth which has failed to the previous endodontic therapy.
- Preserve and restore the tooth with damaged and necrotic pulp.
- The patients requiring endodontic treatment are frequently curious about the treatment they are about to undergo.
- The following provided information can be given to the patients with regards to the questions surrounding the treatment.
Who Performs the Endodontic Therapy
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- All the practitioners that have done graduation receive basic knowledge and practice in endodontic treatment but an endodontist is usually preferred over regular dentists for undergoing endodontic treatment.
- The patients are often referred to the endodontist by the general dentists.
Who is an Endodontist
- The Dentist that has undergone special training in diagnosing and treating the problems associated with the inside of the tooth is called an Endodontist.
- They receive further practice and broader knowledge of the pulp. In order to become a specialist, one undergoes complete basic dental schooling and two or more additional years of advanced training in endodontics.
- They are ought to perform regular, routine, difficult, and complex procedures in the field of endodontics which also includes retreatment of previously done root canal treatment that has not completely healed.
- They also perform endodontic surgeries.
What is Endodontics
- The diagnosis and treatment of the inflamed and damaged pulp is called Endodontics.
- The basic anatomy of the tooth is composed of enamel, dentin, and cementum.
- It encases a soft living tissue which is called the pulp.
- The pulp is composed of blood vessels, nerves fibers and connective tissue which is responsible for providing nutrition and senses to the whole tooth structure.
- It extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots.
- The root then connects to other tissues surrounding the tooth.
- The pulp plays a very important role in the growth and development of the tooth since it provides the nutrition and innervating to the whole tooth structure.
- Once the tooth is fully matured and grown, the tooth can survive without the pulp since it can obtain nourishment from the surrounding tissues, making the endodontic therapy of removing the pulp plausible for the tooth.
How does the Pulp get Damaged
- Pulp has been described as highly resistant organ i.e an organ with little resistance or healing ability, there is a number of ways which can damage the pulp include tooth decay, gum disease, injury to the tooth by accident.
- The endodontist is expected to understand the various causative factors of pulpal diseases, collect information about the presentation and history of symptoms and conduct many tests before formulating the final diagnosis.
Why do we feel Pain
- Whenever a pulp gets infected it causes increased blood flow and cellular activity, and when the pressure cannot be relieved from inside the tooth, it leads to pain.
How can you tell if Pulp is Infected
- When the pulp is infected, it may cause a toothache on taking hot or cold food items, pain on bitting or on lying down, the nature of pain may be spontaneous or intermittent.
- There might be symptoms such as drainage, swelling, and abscess at the root end or otherwise symptomless.
- Previous attempts have been made to diagnose the condition of pulp based on clinical signs or symptoms, electric pulp test, and /or thermal test and radiography have not always been successful.
Why do I need Root Canal Therapy
- Root canal therapy is necessary because a tooth doesn’t heal by itself, and if the tooth is not treated the infection may spread around the tissues causing the destruction of bone and supporting tissues.
- Root canal treatment is done to save the damaged pulp by thorough cleaning and shaping of the root canal system and then filling it by core filling material for example gutta percha to prevent recontamination of the tooth, followed by the crown.
What are alternatives to Root Canal Therapy
- If the tooth is seriously damaged and is not salvageable by root canal therapy then extraction is the only alternative.
What are Risk and Complications
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- Almost 95% of the root canal therapy is successful, but sometimes because of unnoticed canal malformations, iatrogenic errors like ledge formation can lead the root canal therapy to fail.
How long does a Root Canal Take
- Treatment time usually varies according to the condition of the tooth but nowadays most of the treatments are completed in 1 to 2 visits.
- It usually takes around 45 to 90 minutes per visit. However, it also depends on tooth condition.
- However, Single Visit Endodontic Treatment can also be performed but it has its pros and cons.
Will I Feel Pain During or After Treatment
- With advanced techniques and better understanding and uses of anesthesia, patients feel comfortable during the treatment, but it also depends upon patients as one might feel pain after root canal, if infections were present prior to the procedure.
- However, the pain can be relieved by medication, or one can consult the endodontist.
How much does a Root Canal Cost
The cost of root canal treatment lies in many factors. Some of them are
- Place– Place plays a major role when talking about the cost of root canal treatment. As in the United States, RCT cost almost $1200, where as in India, it cost only $20-$30.
- Tooth Number– Front teeth usually cost less than posterior teeth because of posterior teeth ( Molars and Premolars) are multi-rooted.
- Based on your insurance policy– Root canal without insurance cost a lot.
What to Eat after Root Canal Treatment
- After the root canal treatment, one should not eat anything until the numbness, intentionally done by the dentist, wear off. Because the patient may chew or bite his/her own tongue or cheeks.
- After everything is normal, one can have the food of his choice, better to avoid chewing from the same side of treatment for two days.
- For more knowledge regarding what to eat after RCT, click here.
Will the Tooth need any special Care
- One should pay utmost attention to postoperative instructions.
- The temporary filling is not sufficient.
- Sometimes, tooth also pains after the temporary crown, visit dentist is recommended.
- The patient is not allowed to chew or bite on the treated tooth until it has been restored as the unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture so it’s mandatory to put the crown in treated tooth. One should maintain good oral hygiene by brushing, flossing and routine follow up.