Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that relieves pain caused by an infected tooth. During the root canal process, the inflamed pulp is removed. The surfaces inside the tooth are then cleaned and disinfected, and a filling is placed to seal the space. It is a treatment for a painful tooth without removing the tooth. It involves removing the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth. The blood vessels and nerves are removed because when a tooth is infected the vessels and tissues inside the tooth (pulp) become inflamed. This inflammation put pressure on the nerves and that’s what causes the toothache. In some cases the vessel and the tissues in the pulp of the tooth are completely broken down creating gases that cause the pressure inside the tooth to increase, causing pain. Root canal treatment is better than removing the tooth because it is less traumatic and invasive.

Indication for root canal treatment

The pulp of the tooth is meant to be sterile naturally, so when it is invaded by any form of irritants be it bacteria, contact with high stimuli like heat, or high impact on the tooth. The pulp becomes highly irritated and inflamed. The remedy at this point is to remove or amputate the pulp. Keep in mind that the pulp does not recover I its own once it is invaded. The following are indications of a root canal;

  • A large cavity that has breached a tooth pulp.
  • Avulsed reimplanted tooth.
  • A broken tooth with a fracture above the gum margin.
  • Cracked tooth.
  • Recurrent swelling around a tooth.
  • Tooth hypersensitivity.
  • Toothache of unknown cause.
  • Pulp necrotic tooth.
  • Internally discoloured tooth.
  • Sinus tract.
  • Iatrogenic exposed pulp.
  • Loose tooth.
  • Infected tooth.

Symptoms for root canal treatment

In some cases, you may not know you have an infected tooth. However, many people notice certain symptoms. Signs you need a root canal include:

  • Toothache that is recurrent and only relieved by painkillers.
  • Sudden sharp short-lived pain triggered by hot or cold drinks and beverages.
  • swollen gum.
  • Pimple-like swelling beside a tooth that discharges.
  • Swollen jaw.
  • Discoloured tooth.
  • A chipped or cracked tooth.
  • Mobile tooth.
  • Grossly decayed tooth.
  • Heavily filled tooth.

Root canal procedure

Here are the stages that are followed during a root canal procedure:

  1.  First, the tooth is numbed by giving the local anaesthetic injection.
  2. Tooth isolation.
  3. Access creation to reach the pulp.
  4. Pulp amputation and removal.
  5. Shaping and cleaning of the canal.
  6. Root canal sealing.
  7. Filling of access cavity.

It is advisable to crown a tooth after root canal treatment to preserve its strength and prevent fracture.

Advantages of root canal treatment

There are several benefits to choosing root canal therapy. This treatment can:

  • Prevent infection from spreading to other teeth.
  • Ease the symptoms associated with an infected tooth.
  • Reduce the risk of jawbone damage.
  • Eliminate the need for tooth extraction.
  • It preserves the tooth and therefore preserves the bone.

Failed root canal symptoms

Root canal complications can occur in some cases. This is especially true if your tooth is too damaged for this type of treatment. Failed root canal symptoms include:

  • Pain.
  • Swollen gums.
  • Pus or drainage.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Pimple or boil on the gums.
  • Sinus problems.

If your root canal fails, your healthcare provider will explore your options with you. In some cases, root canal retreatment may be possible. Or, it may be time to discuss alternative procedures.

Root canal alternative

The only alternative to root canal therapy is tooth removal. Even though it’s best to save natural teeth whenever possible, extraction may be necessary to preserve your oral health.

If you’re not a good candidate for root canal treatment, the tooth can be extracted and replaced

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