A Root Canal Therapy is a multi-step dental procedure to treat a tooth when the pulp (nerve) has been affected or infected in order to eliminate pain and inflammation that may result from the aggression and protect the, now, cleaned tooth from future invasion by bacteria. This sequence of treatment is commonly referred to as a “root canal.”
Root canal therapy involves the removal of the structure (blood vessels, nerves, etc) that fills the hollow space inside of the tooth, the cleaning, disinfection, shaping of the space with small files and irrigating solutions, and the sealing (obturation) of the disinfected canals with an inert material such as gutta percha imbedded in a cement or resin. This root canal procedure should be done by a qualified dentist.
For most patients, a root canal therapy is a generally frightening dental procedure, possibly because of the painful episodes that lead to the root canal procedure. However, the procedure is relatively painless when done properly by a dentist; the pain can be controlled with local anesthetic during the procedure and pain control medications are used before and/or after treatment.
There are, however, cases where it may be difficult to control pain, such as an abscessed tooth. The pus in the abscess interacts with the anesthetic injected around the tooth. In this case, the treating dentist or the endodontist may treat the abscess by cutting it to let the pus drain out and prescribes antibiotics in order to reduce the infection, which makes it easier to anesthetize the tooth at a later time.
After completion of a root canal procedure, the tooth should be protected with a crown. The tooth will almost certainly fracture otherwise, since the removal of tooth structure undermines the tooth’s structural integrity. In addition, a root canal treated tooth tends to be more brittle because of loss of nourishment and hydration resulting from removal of the blood supply. A crown is also a great protection if the tooth is not perfectly sealed, and will prevent failure of the root canal therapy.