First a 101 on teeth – Basically a tooth is a hard, calcified structure found in the jaws and is used to mince food to help digestion. A fully grown human has 32 teeth- 16 on each jaw.
Teeth are classified as per their function – Incisors for biting, canines for grip and tear, pre-molars and molars for mashing up food.
The tooth has 2 parts – Crown, which is the visible part and the root which is embedded in the gum. The root encloses nerves, which send all sensations to the tooth.
The outer covering of the visible part of the tooth is called dentine or enamel. The center is a hollow area that has soft tissues such as the nerve, blood vessels and connective tissue.
The roots of teeth are covered by gums, which help in safeguarding the teeth.Oral hygiene is very critical. Any food left over between the teeth or in surrounding areas may putrefy and lead to infections or inflammations.
There are times when infection may seep down to the root of the tooth causing severe pain and swelling. In this situation, it is a must to visit the nearest dental clinic. A dentist will assess the condition and may ask for an X-ray which will show the extent of damage done to the root of the tooth.
The study of root canal anatomy relates to the pulp chamber and root canals under laid below the tooth. Signs that show the need for root canal treatment
- Severe toothache during chewing or application of pressure
- Extreme sensitivity or pain when exposed to hot or cold temperature foods like ice cream or hot coffee
- Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in surrounding gums
Root Canal Procedure
- After assessment of the tooth’s anatomy, dentist will try to repair the decayed or inflamed tooth
- The pulp and infected nerve end is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned
- The cavity created is then sealed with a filling or a crown
This is a simple procedure which may need a very small dose of anesthesia. Root canal treatment of teeth has 90% success rate.
Root canal procedure is generally completed in two to three sittings of duration of about 90 minutes each – depending on the comfort levels of the patient. Only when the infection is beyond treatment and there is no other option, the tooth may need extraction.
Five common myths about root canal treatment
- Root canal treatment is painful – No, It is virtually pain free. In fact, root canal treatment relives pain as it removes the infection, which is the source of pain. Advancements in technology, procedural training, equipment, make modern root canal treatment painless.
- Root canal procedure requires several visits to the dental clinic- A lot of people feel that tooth extraction is better as it is quicker. This is just not true. An extraction will also need a dental implant, which will need several visits, and a lot of money. The condition of the tooth determines the number of visits required. Root canal treatment normally requires between 1 and 3 visits.
- A root canal “kills” the tooth. A root canal does not kill a tooth. It cleans and disinfects the inside of the tooth to allow it to heal
- Root canal procedure is not very successful: – Root canal procedures have about 90% success rate when treated by an expert orthodontist. As long as the tooth and surrounding gums are kept healthy with good oral hygiene, the natural tooth can last a life time without further treatment or intervention.
- Root canal treatment causes illness: It is a myth that root canal procedures caused illnesses in other parts of the body. There is no valid scientific evidence of this. In fact, root canals treatments remove bad bacteria from the infected part of the mouth and prevent re-infection not cause them.
Issues relating to the teeth and mouth should never be neglected as infections of the mouth can very easily find their way to the stomach, creating more serious issues.
For all oral problems like pain or infection in the teeth requiring root canal treatment, gingivitis or gum infection, overlapping teeth which trap food particles, consult your nearest dental clinic.