Know All About Root Canal


How To Fix Tooth Decay?

Many individuals suffer from tooth pain due to a number of reasons such as tooth decay, damaged fillings, tooth fracture, abscessed tooth and infected gums. Cavities formed due to tooth decay affect both the outer surface (enamel) of the tooth as well as its inner layer (dentin) and are a primary cause of tooth pain or loss.
Gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (gum diseases) result from hormonal changes, poor oral hygiene, smoking, as well as illnesses such as diabetes and HIV. Gum diseases and tooth decay in turn cause painful infection at the root of the tooth called abscessed teeth.
Traumatic injuries to the teeth structure and genetic conditions are also viable reasons to tooth ache. The occurrence of tooth ache can result in excessive swelling, fevers, headaches and ear pains, even making it difficult for an individual to eat or speak. In such a situation, it becomes necessary to treat these tooth defects through surgical methods.


A Root Canal Treatment can help alleviate your pain caused by gum inflammation, tooth decay or fractures.

What Is A Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal is a common dental procedure used to restore decayed and damaged teeth in order to prevent tooth ache or loss. It involves the removal of pulp and nerve of an infected tooth followed by its subsequent cleaning and sealing. Despite being a painful procedure, root canal provides a durable solution to dental problems and is a relatively quick and inexpensive surgery. 


Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Root Canal Treatment?


People experiencing serious pain while eating.

People with teeth extremely sensitive to heat or cold.

If patients develop small bumps on the gums around aching teeth.

People with extreme swelling or inflammation in gums.

People with positive prognosis of teeth and want to avoid a tooth extraction.

Children more than 3-4 years of age and adults.

What Are The Different Types Of Root Canal Treatment?

Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is a procedure that is used to cure abnormal conditions like injuries, infections, etc. occurring deep inside the tooth. The damaged root pulp is removed and replaced with a rubbery material. This procedure saves us from removing the whole tooth.

  • To check inflammation, a primary nonsurgical RCT is performed. If this RCT does not completely cure the problem, a secondary RCT is needed.

  • Generally, when we cannot have a primary RCT, apicoectomy is performed. This is a microsurgical procedure in with infected tissues are removed along with the infected tooth.

For children, two different kinds of procedures, namely pulpotomy and pulpectomy are popular.

  • Pulpotomy removes the nerve and diseased pulp from the crown of the tooth. There is no change to the root nerve.

  • In pulpectomy, all nerve and pulp are removed, even from the root.

 What To Do Before A Root Canal Treatment?

  • Eat regular meals before undergoing the procedure but avoid eating the night before the procedure day as it can interfere with sedation during the procedure.

  • Medicate yourself before the beginning of the procedure, with the doctor's permission, if you are on regular medications.

  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages or smoking at least 12 hours before the root canal treatment as alcohol can cause excessive bleeding and prolong recovery time.

  • Many dentists recommend anti-inflammatory and anti-pain pills as medication prior to the operation to prevent complications in the later stages of healing after root canal treatment.

  • Consumption of blood thinning medications, such as aspirin should be stopped for at least 10 days before treatment as they might lead to reduced blood clotting while root canal treatment. However, you should consult your primary doctor before you stopping taking these medicines. 

  • One should wear comfortable clothing for the treatment as it may last for several hours.

  • Eat soft food and avoid sticky stuff. If possible, also avoid chewing with the infected side.

  • Try to sleep with your head in an elevated position so that your sleeping position does not cause further damage to the infected tooth.

 What Is The Post-operative Care For Root Canal Treatment?

  • It is common for the patient to experience pain or some numbness in the tooth after the treatment. This usually subsides in a few days but may take longer if there was considerable pain before the treatment too. 

  • Inflammation in the root tips can cause severe pain and discomfort. These inflammation sites can develop cysts which can cause stress on the nerves thus increasing the pain. Antibiotics can ease the pain and cure this.

  • Once the pain subsides, the tooth treated for root canal is immediately covered with a crown to prevent further damage. If the cracked tooth opens, tooth extraction is the only option left.

  • The nerve ending near the root of the tooth becomes very sensitive to the heat or cold after the root canal treatment. This feeling is usually short lived. Dentists recommend after care measures like salt-water rinses for some relief.

  • Smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages should be avoided for a few days after the treatment to enhance recovery.

  • To prevent bacterial reinfection and make the tooth resistant to it, full dosage of antibiotics should be taken as per the doctor's instructions.

What Is The Post-operative Diet For A Root Canal Treatment?

Avoid crunchy foods such as corn, apples, etc. as they could damage the treated tooth and cause pain.

Alcohol should be avoided as it causes excessive bleeding.

Excessively hot and spicy food should also be avoided as it causes more sensitivity.

Chewy and hard foods could pull out the temporary filling, hence should be avoided.

Smoking should also be avoided as it can also damage the treated tooth causing gums around it to deteriorate.

What Are The Realistic Expectations From A Root Canal Treatment?

  • Root Canals are usually long procedures that may take more than one appointment to complete. People who decide to go for such a procedure require to have enough time allotted for the procedure and recovery.

  • Root canals, when performed by professionals have 95% successful results. 

  • Since it takes more than a week to complete the whole process, patients are required to have a soft diet until the whole procedure is completed. 

  • Surgery on the tooth is a last resort for dentists, in cases where the trauma or infection within the tooth is too extensive to be treated with a root canal.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Root Canal Treatment?

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • Root canal treatment helps in avoiding pain and the spread of infection.

  • It cures dental decay and prevents the the tooth pulp from further damage.

  • Another benefit is that tooth extraction is not required after a root canal treatment and the bone around the tooth is not lost or damaged.

  • It leads to a balanced bite force while chewing which makes eating pain less.

  • The procedure protects other adjacent teeth from infection and strain. 

  • This is a more economical solution when compared to procedures which require replacement of missing teeth.

  • The results of a root canal procedure can last for a lifetime if proper oral care is maintained.

  • Following the root canal treatment, your tooth will not be as strong as a healthy tooth. It may require an additional crown for protection.

  • There is a risk of re-infection, toothache or discomfort.

  • You may feel some discomfort following a root canal procedure which can be easily alleviated with the help of over the counter drugs prescribed by your doctor. 

  • It is possible for your to doctor miss an extra root or a hidden canal. Choosing the right surgeon, who has considerable experience will help you prevent any complications such as these. 

  • Your doctor will advise you on whether to take antibiotics, painkillers or further root canal treatment. In rare cases, extraction of the infected tooth might be prescribed.

Who Should Avoid Undergoing A Root Canal Treatment?

  • Since root canals use local anesthetics, most people should be able to receive a root canal in the event of an infected tooth. Pregnant woman are advised against the procedure until after delivery,  unless the infection is causing severe pain.

  • Patients who have had prior heart valve conditions are generally prescribed antibiotics before the procedure to render them fit for the surgery. Since the infection is present in the pulp of the tooth, the easy access to the bloodstream, enables infection to spread to other parts of the body. Hence dentists opt for this simple precautionary measure.  

 What Are The Alternatives To A Root Canal Treatment?

  • Tooth Extraction

A common alternative to this procedure is tooth extraction, which refers to removal of the infected tooth. While this alternative is quick and cheap, it leads to the loss of a tooth, thereby affecting the structure of the jawbone.

  • Direct Pulp Capping

Another well known alternative to root canals is direct pulp capping, which is a dental restoration technique that aims to prevent an infected dental pulp from dying.  It is a less invasive technique and relatively cheaper than a root canal. However, this procedure is not applicable when the infected tooth’s nerve is dead, in which case a root canal becomes necessary.

  • Lifestyle Changes

Natural alternatives include making healthier changes to one’s diet such as avoiding processed sugars, flour products and increase intake of high protein foods. However, this is more of a prevention rather than a cure.

Does Root Canal Treatment Lead To Scarring ?

Scars may develop after the root canal treatment on the gums around the teeth or the inner lining of the mouth. This could be due to the instrument marks or the scar tissue left after the healing process has completed. However, as these scars lie inside the mouth, these are not visible on the outside and rarely catch any attention. So, the patient need not worry.

What Are The Temporary Side-effects Of Root Canal Treatment?

  • While dentists use a local anaesthetic, people commonly view root canals as painful procedures. Over the counter medications can deal with this discomfort after a procedure.

  • In rare instances, all the infection is not removed during one appointment. In such cases, dentists prescribe a course of antibiotics, before the filling is placed.

 How To Choose A Surgeon For A Root Canal Treatment?

Your endodontist ideally completes a four year accredited dental program, as well as a two year postdoctoral course in endodontics. Upon completion, these specialists can evaluate, diagnose and treat dental conditions.

It is recommended to research and select your own dentist. When looking out for a prospective treating dentist, it is always vital to take some time and verify qualifications and experience. Dentists are often required to register with the local dental council, that ensures their credentials are up to the standard required to perform dental procedures. 

Once a dentist is selected, a client should inquire about the number of root canals performed. This can give a prospective patient an idea of the expertise and experience they have to offer.


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