Root Canal Treatment or RCT, is a dental procedure to treat infection at the centre of a tooth (pulp). Root canal treatment is also called endodontics.
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What Causes An Infection?
The infection is caused by a bacteria which enters the pulp chamber and infects the pulp. Exposure of the pulp may be caused by:
- Teeth are damaged by trauma, such as a fall
- Accidental exposure during cavity preparation
How Is A Tooth Made Up?
A tooth is made up of two parts:
- The crown is the part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth
- The root extends into the bone of the jaw, anchoring the tooth in position
The tooth is then composed of the following structures:
- Enamel is the hard outer coating of a tooth
- Dentine is a softer material that supports the enamel and forms most of the tooth.
- Cementum is a hard material that coats the root surface
- Dental pulp is the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth
The root canal system contains the dental pulp and extends from the crown of the tooth to the end of the root. A single tooth can have more than one root canal.
The pulp is made up of soft tissue that includes nerves and blood vessels. If bacteria infect the pulp, it will begin to die. After this, the bacteria can increase in number. The bacteria and the substances they release will eventually pass out of the end of the root canal through the small hole where the blood vessels and nerves enter.
This process continues as there is nothing to stop more bacteria passing down the root canal, which causes the tissues around the end of the tooth to become red and swollen. This can cause your tooth to become painful and, in extreme circumstances, your face may become swollen (dental abscess) .
The object of root canal filling is to remove the inflammed or dead pulp from the tooth and replace it with a sterile non-irritant, insoluble root canal filling that seals of the entire canal and thereby prevents any recurrence of apical infection.It is often done it two stages: the first to prepare the canal; the second to insert the root filling. If no diculties arise, both stages can be completed at same visit.
Root canal treatment should not be painful because a local anaesthetic is normally given, it should be no more unpleasant than having a filling. The procedure is usually successful. In about 9 out of 10 cases, a tooth can survive for up to 10 years after root canal treatment.
It is important to look after your teeth when recovering from root canal treatment . You should also avoid biting on hard foods until all treatment is complete.
Most people can help prevent the need for further root canal treatment by:
- maintaining good oral hygiene
- being careful to avoid too much sugary food in your diet
- quitting smoking, if you smoke