It is common for many people to unnecessarily shudder in fear with the very mention of root canal treatment. This is mostly because of their old perception that root canal treatment is a painful experience. Not anymore! Considering the damage that can happen to your teeth with deep infections, root canal treatment is actually a viable and cost-effective treatment.
So to answer your question “Is root canal procedure painful?” With the latest dental equipment and specialist dental doctors, it isn’t! It’s one of the best treatments that can be done in a dental clinic for tooth decay, dental cavities, and cracked or chipped teeth.
What is dental cavity and tooth decay?
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems in India. It is estimated that more than 30% of Indian male adults and more than 34% of Indian female adults have tooth decay. And, if we consider people across all ages including children and older adults, 49% of Indians have dental cavities. This is much more than other countries and a major reason for this is known to be lack of dental hygiene and not having periodical dental checkups.
Dental cavity is a condition that occurs when the outer layer of the tooth called enamel softens. Enamel of the tooth softens because of constant exposure to acids produced by bacteria and plaque. This leads to damage of structure of the tooth.
As the tooth is constantly exposed to bacterial and plaque acids, there is loss of enamel first. Later, damage spreads to the inner layer of the tooth called dentin. Eventually, these acids expose the inner cavity of the tooth leading to infection, inflammation, and severe tooth pain. This is because nerves of the tooth, the connecting tissue, and blood vessels are exposed to the plaque bacteria.
Dental cavities are a major reason for tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth process sugar from carbohydrates and sugary foods into acids. These acids lead to tooth decay.
Causes of tooth decay
- Poor oral hygiene
- Formation of dental plaques
- Consuming more sugary foods
- Dry mouth
- Certain medical problems GERD
Once a person has tooth decay, it manifests in the form of symptoms like:
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Pain while biting food
- Having a hole on the tooth
- Formation of pus due to infection
It is very important to visit a dental hospital immediately after you notice these symptoms. Once you are examined at the dental clinic, the dentist might recommend a root canal treatment in case there is damage to the pulp of the tooth. This is because untreated infections and exposed pulp leads to abscess.
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is one of the most common dental procedures performed by an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists who specialize in root canal treatment and other endodontic treatments.
Root canal treatment is done to relieve a patient from dental pain, and inflammation and infection of the root and pulp of the tooth. Root canal treatment helps in saving the natural teeth and prevents need for dental extractions, dental implants, or bridges.
In root canal treatment, dental specialists remove the infected pulp inside the tooth, disinfect the root canal, shape the root canal, and seal the root canal with a filling. Later, placement of crown for restoration of functionality is considered.
What are the reasons for performing root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is done to save the tooth. It is prescribed by doctors when there is infection of the pulp, the soft tissues in the root canal, and the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth.
Root canal treatment is done when there are dental cavities, tooth decay, injury to the tooth leading to infection, and when the tooth has chips or cracks.
Is root canal procedure painful?
Actually, root canal treatment is done to relive a person from tooth pain and to save the tooth. Procedures done in dental hospitals using the latest technologies, dental equipment, and anesthesia are not painful.
After the procedure, it is common for some people to have tooth sensitivity, and discomfort. However, as soon as the infection heals, pain and discomfort disappears.
How is root canal treatment performed?
The root canal is the innermost, soft tissue part of the tooth which comprises of the odontogenic tissue, nerves, and blood vessels that supply to the tooth. It helps in nourishing the surrounding tooth structure. If this part of the tooth gets infected either due to deep caries, trauma, cracks, or old restorations, they results in symptoms like pain in the tooth or gums, swelling in relation to that particular tooth, and sensitivity while having extreme hot or cold foods.
The treatment procedure involves a proper diagnosis of the condition which helps the endodontist to choose the correct treatment procedure. Various diagnostic procedures include:
- Tender on percussion – to check any tenderness of the tooth by tapping
- Palpation – to locate any swelling in the gums
After the diagnostic tests, when the endodontist has advised for the root canal treatment, local anesthesia is administered to the patient for numbing the area to provide a pain-free treatment.
The access cavity is prepared by the endodontist. He or she removes the entire pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. The entire infected tissue has to be removed with the help of suitable instruments like files. The root canals are thoroughly cleaned and shaped. In between, saline is irrigated into the canals to flush the debris out.
The number of root canals depends upon the number of roots. The root canal treatment of front tooth will have a single root canal. Front tooth are the highly prone to injury and these teeth often require root canal treatment.
Once the reshaping and cleaning is done, sealing is done. If the endodontist still feels that there is some infection then he/she will apply some medicament and closes the access cavity with temporary filling material.
In the next appointment, the endodontist will remove the temporary filling, and irrigates the canals. An obturation is done. Gutta-percha points are used for sealing the root canals. Obturation is the most important step in the root canal treatment. If there is any leakage in the obturation, it will affect the prognosis of the treatment.
The final step in the root canal treatment comes with permanent restoration. It can be a crown over the tooth. The crown will help you in regaining tooth functionally. When large amounts of the tooth structure is lost due to decay then there is need to place a post in the tooth in order to provide strength and support to the crown after completion of the root canal treatment.
Some people may have discomfort when the numbness subsides. This can be reduced by taking the medication advised by endodontist.
Root canal treatment has 95% success rate; however, there are certain post treatment guidelines that need to be followed after the root canal treatment. This will enhance the outcome of the treatment. One should pay special attention in maintaining oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing has to be done.
How long does it take to recover from a root canal treatment?
Recovery time after a root canal depends upon the extent of infection. In most cases, doctors prescribe pain medications and antibiotics so that pain and infection are treated. However, in most cases, it takes around one to two weeks after a root canal treatment for full recovery.
Latest advancements in root canal therapy
The latest technologies and the dental science together bought advancements in root canal therapy.
- Rotary endodontics: It involves an electrically-driven instrument with nickel titanium files. This makes the procedure fast and efficient because of the flexibility of the files. It has replaced traditional stainless steel hand-driven files. Rotary endodontics minimizes instrument breakage in the canal. The new motor hand piece enables the endodontist to have control over dental instrumentation during the BMP (biomechanical preparation).
- Apex locators: Electronic apex locators allow the endodontist to efficiently and accurately locate where the root canal exits the tooth. Locating the apex of the tooth is very essential as the goal of the root canal treatment of tooth is to remove the entire infected pulp and sealing.
- Digital radiography: Apollo White Dental Clinics have a digital x-ray where patients are explained about diagnosis and treatment by viewing on the monitor. Digital x-rays produce less radiation. These X-rays can be developed immediately thereby reducing the time you spend on the chair.
- Laser-assisted root canal treatment: This is the advanced technology in the root canal treatment. The laser will thoroughly disinfect the canals without any hand or rotary instruments. This reduces postoperative healing time and aids in better prognosis. Lasers can now be used in making the access cavity.
- Obtura: this is the most advanced thermoplastic obturation technique.
Root canal treatment cost
The cost of root canal treatment varies depending upon the tooth and the severity of the dental caries. Location of the tooth, number of sittings at the dental clinic, and the technology used to conduct the root canal treatment are also major factors. Laser-assisted root canal treatments will cost you more but provide more comfort. The results of the root canal treatment are considered to be permanent when they are done at a prestigious dental clinic and experienced endodontists.
To know more about the cost of root canal treatment, please feel free to call us at our toll free number: 1800 102 0288