Root Canal Treatment (Endodontics)
Endodontics is a department where the root canal of the tooth is treated.
An artificial tooth can never alternate a natural one. For this reason, all the tooth treatments aim to keep the tooth inside the mouth healthy.
In the treatments, the tooth is tried to be kept alive as much as possible. However, if it is not possible to treat the dental pulp and keep it alive, then root canal treatment is applied. In root canal treatment, the nerve tissue of the tooth is extracted, and the resulted cavity is shaped and cleared; then it is filled with a root canal filling material down until the root apex.
IN WHICH CASES IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO TREAT AND KEEP THE DENTAL PULP ALIVE?
If the decay in the tooth is not treated, it gradually progresses down to the nerves and causes the dental pulp (nerve tissue of the tooth) to inflame.
The dental pulp (nerve tissue) inflammation, gradually causes the necrosis(death) of the dental pulp. The necrosis can occur as a result of a trauma, too. With sudden trauma, as a result of breakaways, cracking or jamming in the blood vessels that get through the tip of the root, the dental pulp (nerve tissue) cannot be fed and the tooth becomes necrosed gradually. After a specific time, microorganisms start to reproduce inside the necrosed dental pulp (nerve tissue). In the course of time, the microorganisms affect the tissues around the root and result in inflammation in the root apex.
Depending on the gingival pockets that arise in periodontal diseases, the dental pulp (nerve tissue) can be affected via the lateral dental canaliculi inside the tooth.
In the above cases, it is not possible to keep the dental pulp (nerve tissue) alive. Therefore, root canal treatment is applied.
We can understand that a tooth is infected if there is pain and sensitivity to the hot and cold nutrients, or during eating. When we feel such toothaches, we can say that inflammation has begun. The excessive color changes in teeth are also indications of inflammation. Apart from these, in teeth where the decay progressed all the way to the dental pulp but still not treated, the infection progresses from the root apex to the jawbone and it may cause swellings. In such cases, the utilization of antibiotics is suitable upon the advice by the dentist, together with dental treatment. It is an old application to extract the aching tooth. Today, the teeth that cause major infections can be kept inside the mouth by treating with root canal treatment, and they can function as they did in healthy days.
HOW IS THE ROOT CANAL TREATMENT APPLIED?
In order to prevent you from feeling pain, suitable anesthesia is applied.
The dentist reaches the nerve by cleaning the decay in the tooth. The nerve and tissue residues of the tooth are cleaned.
To determine the canal size of your tooth, a canal device is inserted inside your tooth and x-ray is done. With the guidance of the canal size, the tooth canal is shaped down to the apex. All the residues are removed from the operational area mechanically and by using convenient chemicals.
Until the full recovery of the tooth is ensured, the canal is closed with temporary filling material between the sessions.
After full recovery, the canal is filled with suitable filling materials until the root apex. The root canal treatment can be completed in one session or a few sessions, according to the tooth’s situation.
To summarize, root canal treatment is extracting the degenerated tooth nerve and keeping the surrounding tissues healthy. After the root canal treatment, it is aimed that the damage (if there is any) around the surrounding tissues of the tooth is recovered to prevent the recurrence of infection.
The root canal treatment is a comfortable and painless dental treatment, which is performed under local anesthesia.
In cases where the tooth nerve is dead, the root canal treatment can be conducted without anesthesia because the tooth nerve cannot transmit the painful stimulus as it’s totally dead.
Whether the application of the root canal treatment will be in one session or more, depends on your dentist’s decision that will made according to her/his knowledge and experience, and your tooth’s condition. This decision may not be totally definite before beginning the treatment. After the start of the treatment, the dentist decides the number of sessions according to the condition of the tooth.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE ROOT CANAL TREATMENT IS NOT APPLIED?
In cases that the dental pulp is damaged due to periodontal disease, trauma, or tooth decay; the tooth loses its liveliness and the infection spreads out to the whole tooth gradually. Unless the tooth in such condition is treated, the infection causes bone thinning in the related area by affecting the tissues in the vicinity of the tooth root. In this cavity in the bone, a dental abscess occurs. The dental abscess progresses together with pain and swelling, and the tooth can be lost in a short time.
WHAT IS THE LIFETIME OF A TOOTH TREATED WITH ROOT CANAL?
Although a root canal treated tooth looks weak since it had lost its liveliness, it can survive for the lifetime when restored properly if the sufficient oral hygiene is ensured.