Root canal therapy is also called endodontic treatment. It is done when a tooth is in such a state that it can be salvaged and does not have to be extracted. During this line of treatment, the dentist clears out and removes the dental tissue in the tooth cavity. After this, the cavity is cleaned up of all traces of infection. A material like gutta-percha is placed inside this cavity, and it is sealed off from the outside environs. This is done by placing a temporary filling. This remains till a permanent filling or a crown is placed atop. This is how the tooth looks from the outside.
What is root canal procedure?
It is a fact that inside the tooth, under the enamel and dentine layers is the dental pulp. This is a mass of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. This is the foundation of all growth of the root of the tooth. In a fully developed tooth, one can survive without the dental pulp. Endodontic treatment is pretty much the same as having a regular tooth filling done. It takes one to two sessions with the dentist to be fully done.
There are several advantages of endodontic treatment. First is that the tooth is not extracted. Due to this, one can retain natural chewing, biting and speaking actions. The natural appearance of the tooth too is retained. Also, the adjacent teeth are not subjected to any side effects of tooth extraction and placement of artificial teeth, implants or dentures.
First, the dentist takes an x-ray of where the tooth decay has set in. Local anesthesia is given to the patient. It is also a fact that getting a root canal treatment done is not any different from getting a filling. An opening is made inside which reaches till the dental pulp, and the infected or decaying pulp is removed. As mentioned above, this area is filled up with gutta-percha and sealed with cement.
How does one take care of a tooth with a root canal?
It is essential to have good oral hygiene habits after a root canal procedure has been performed. One should brush teeth properly at least twice each day. It is wise to brush each time after eating, but if this is not possible, then one should at least rinse the mouth well. Also one should floss teeth once a day. Make it a point to visit the dentist on a regular basis to get the cleaning done. Also, one should not chew hard or sticky foods which can result in damage to this area and a subsequent breaking up or cracking of the dental crown or the cement which was used to bind the gutta-percha in. Since the natural tooth has been retained due to root canal procedure, it is best to look after it well so that the problem does not recur.
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