What is canal treatment?
In a root canal treatment, the pulp – the viable tissue of a tooth – is removed due to any reason whatsoever, the cavity of the canal is shaped and filled by tissue-friendly materials.
What are indications of canal treatment?
Root canal treatment can be performed if the tooth is viable or not.
Canal treatment is instituted to manage the infection of the pulp secondary to deep caries. Severe hot and cold sensitivity, spontaneous and sustained pain and tooth ache that wakes up the patient are among the symptoms.
However, “pulp capping”, a filling procedure that conserves the pulp, can be an option by removing the deep caries, if the pain is not severe and long-lasting. In some cases, even if the pulp tissue is exposed while cleaning, a chance is given to the tooth by using pulp capping medicaments before the root canal treatment. A particular period of time should elapse after this process and the pulp capping is considered successful if the tooth ache disappears. However, canal treatment will be indicated, if the pain does not regress.
Canal treatment may be required in viable teeth due to loss of the periodontal tissue. The root surface of the tooth is covered by cement – a tissue that is not as strong as the enamel – and canal treatment may be required for sensitivities secondary to periodontal tissue loss.
Canal treatment may also be required for prosthetic treatment that is planned for viable tooth that extends to the contralateral jaw.
Trauma is another cause that requires root canal treatment. Impact on the tooth causes destruction of the apex and it may also damage the pulp or breaks down the crown – the visible part of the restoration; in this case, vitality test is done, if the live tissue of the tooth is not exposed. It is checked at certain intervals and the necessity of a canal treatment is decided according to the test results.
If the tooth is not live or viable
Necrosis occurs when the tooth loses viability due to a reason whatsoever. Inflammation starts at the root apex and swelling may occur in the face. Treatment of necrotic teeth can be completed in a single session depending on the extent of the infection, or number of sessions can be increased by wound dressing. If the previous canal treatment fails, the filling in the canal is removed and a new filling is done.
How is root canal treatment done?
Canal treatment is no more a painful and fearful treatment thanks to developing technology. The pulp is reached under anesthesia and the apical indices are measured with electronic devices, called “apex locater”, and thus, the need to radiograms is reduced. The canal is quickly and comfortably shaped using revolving instruments and finally, the canal is filled in; treatment is completed, after very low-dose digital radiograms are scanned, namely Periapical Radiogram. Scientific studies are now advocating that canal treatments can be completed in a single session, but the number of sessions may vary depending on the inflammation.