ROOT CANAL TREATMENT (RCT)
Root Canal Treatment (or RCT) is a procedure done to remove infection from your tooth which has reached till the tip of the tooth & beyond. It is the last attempt to save your tooth.
Once your tooth begins to pain, it’s a clear indication that the infection has involved the pulp (which has nerves & blood) of the tooth. In such cases the infection reaches the root tip in no time & the bacteria begin to release toxins. In such cases, a simple filling is neither possible nor the correct line of treatment.
Therefore, we opt for root canal treatment through which we can clean the tooth till the root tip, thereby, removing all the bacteria. Once the cleaning is done, we may place some medication in the tooth depending on the severity of your infection & once the infection subsides, filling is done. Filling material is different for the root & crown of the tooth. After filling the tooth, the crown part of the tooth is trimmed a little & measurements of your tooth are taken. The same are send to the lab & an artificial cap for your tooth is prepared. Once it is fixed onto your tooth, your RCT is complete. Regular X-rays are taken during this entire procedure to make sure that each step is done correctly. Additional aids like microscope, detectors to find the tip of the tooth etc. can be used to improve the accuracy of the treatment & minimise chances of failure.
Root canal treatment may get completed in single sitting or may take 3 sittings depending on the extent & severity of infection in the tooth. Once RCT is done then a cap must be placed on the tooth.
The appointments may be clubbed & it may range from 2-4 sittings for your RCT completion & crown placement, depending from case to case.
RCT is done under local anaesthesia. So, there should be no pain during the procedure. Post the first dental visit, you may be asked to take a pain killer incase you experience some pain.
Once the infection is removed from the tooth, there should be no pain. Filling the tooth and placing the cap on your tooth are painless procedures.
If done properly following all protocols & steps, a good Root Canal Treatment should last for a long time.
The tooth undergoing the root canal treatment should be properly cleaned off infection, till the tip of the tooth. Once the infection begins to resolve, a permanent filling should be done. After this the tooth is prepared and a permanent cap is placed. The cap (also called crown) is of a good material quality and should be of correct size and fixed onto the tooth with tight contacts. As long as these steps are done correctly, your root canal treatment will be a success. At each & every step, regular X-rays helps verify the work done & rectify any mistakes (if any) at the earliest.
There are different kinds of materials available for crowns to be placed. It will range from stainless steel to zirconia.
Stainless steel crowns are silver in colour and are preferably used for children (root canal for milk teeth). Stainless steel is not a very hard material. These crowns are not very popular among adults due to their poor aesthetics &
comparatively low strength, but are preferable for children.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are metal crowns with a coating of tooth coloured material(porcelain) on top of it. These crowns have comparative low strength and the white coating (porcelain) may generally wear off after some time.
Ceramic crowns are tooth coloured crowns. They are of 2 types – metal crown with ceramic coating and an all ceramic E-max crown. The former has a metal base with a strong ceramic coating. The latter (E-max) is metal free and completely made of ceramic layers. These crowns have good strength & the coating doesn’t wear off.
Zirconia crowns are one of the best crowns available. These crowns are aesthetic with the advantage of being stronger than ceramics at the same time they do not wear off the opposing tooth.
Gold crowns are still preferred by some people. Gold is a strong and inert material. These crowns have a good life and make your teeth look precious.
Most people prefer ceramic crowns because they are aesthetic (custom made to match the exact shade of your teeth), strong and not too expensive.
Dental Radiographs (X-Rays)
Radiographs, commonly known as X-rays, are black and white internal pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them. They are an important tool to help your dentist properly diagnose your oral health needs.
Dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. Since many oral diseases cannot be detected by just a visual examination, X-rays are a valuable preventive tool to help dentists detect oral health problems early.
X-rays provide information about a patients’ oral health, such as early-stage cavities, gum disease or infections.
The Benefits of Dental X-Rays
Since many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when your dentist examines your mouth, an X-ray can help reveal:
-small areas of decay between the teeth or existing fillings;
-infections in the bone;
-infection in the tooth.
Finding and treating dental problems early can save time, money and unnecessary discomfort. X-rays can help your dentist detect problems in your mouth that otherwise would not be seen or would be seen manifesting at a later date.
Types of X-rays
Bitewings are one of the most common sets of X-rays. Bitewings help diagnose gum disease and cavities between teeth.
A panorex is a full-mouth X-ray. This type of X-ray is particularly helpful for seeing the upper and lower jaws at one time and can show impacted teeth or other hidden structures that could be hard to see on the small, individual film. These Xrays show problems such as impacted wisdom teeth (which are stuck inside the jaw bone), infections, and are useful if any braces treatment is being planned.
A periapical (PA) X-ray refers to a single tooth X-ray that is taken to show a specific area of concern. If you have a tooth ache, your dentist is likely to recommend a PA film to see that whole tooth including the root tip.
X-rays are an important diagnostic tool for your dentist. Early detection and treatment of disease is the best way to ensure a healthy mouth over a lifetime.