Root canal treatment
The teeth are calcified objects with a hollow space within. The hollow space is known as the pulp chamber, which comprises of the nerves, arteries, veins, lymph vessels and connective tissue that nourish the tooth. Root canals - The nerve of each tooth enters at the tip of its root and runs through the centre of the root in small root canals that merge ultimately with the pulp chamber. The number of canals varies according to the teeth. Generally, the front teeth have a single root canal while molars often have three or more canals.
The nerve tissue plays an important role in the development and formation of teeth. On formation its function is to preserve the tooth's health and vitality by:
- Retaining the organic components of the tooth's mineralized tissues namely the dentin and enamel, by supplying nutrients and moisture
- Producing new tooth structure to protect the nerve from injury or infection
However, once the tooth's nerve tissue has to be removed as a result of infection, it should not affect you in any manner.
Why Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal treatment is performed when the pulp tissue of the tooth has become infected, in order to prevent the formation of abscess and eventual spreading of the infection to the surrounding tissues.
How is the pulp damaged?
The pulp can be damaged as a result of:
- Untreated tooth decay, causing bacteria to spread into your tooth and infect the pulp.
- Severe gum disease, causing gums to pull away from the teeth, thereby creating a gap called a periodontal pocket, which traps bacteria that can infect the pulp.
- Injury, due to accident that affects and infects the pulp.
What happens if left untreated?
If left untreated it leads to the formation of an abscess, which is the collection of pus as a result of the multiplying bacteria, and it pushes beyond the root tips. As the abscess expands within the bone, the tooth rises slightly out of its socket making it feel tender when you bite down. Without treatment, this infection can further spread to the surrounding tissues and nerves resulting in
- Difficulty in swallowing
How does it help help?
Root canal treatment removes the infected pulp and disinfects the pulp chamber thereby stopping the spread and formation of further infection. This helps to retain the teeth in its natural form.
What are the indications for a root canal treatment?
- Persistent toothache
- Presence of tenderness in your gums near a tooth.
- Presence of swelling in your gums near a tooth
- A tooth that is partially or completely darkened following a trauma