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Get to the root of it!

Date :14/05/2015

EVER wondered what anti-ageing formulae you might use when you need them? Don’t go too far. One of the solutions is right there in your mouth! As crazy as it might sound, your teeth are one of the best anti-wrinkle treatments there is. As you start losing teeth, you start losing jawbone, and once the bones on your face shrink because they are not supporting teeth, your face sags! The idea is that you can save your teeth; whether the tooth decay is in the initial layers of the tooth (when the cavities are filled) or whether the tooth decay has spread into the deeper, inner aspects of the tooth for which Root Canal Therapy has to be done.

How do you know when you need it?

Root canal therapy or RCT as it is popularly called is indicated (although not conclusively as each case is different from the other) when. * there has been trauma to the tooth as in an injury, fall or accident where the tooth is either fractured or discoloured. * there is a large decay in the tooth extending to the roots causing recurring tooth pain or swelling or both. * there is an opening in the gums which

drains pus through a sinus tract that leads to an abscess surrounding the roots. *dental cavities extend very close to the nerve causing extreme tooth pain. These are just a few main reasons for Root Canal Therapy among others for which an intra-oral x-ray is taken at the dentist’s clinic that shows the extent of tooth decay or the rounded black spot at the end of the roots indicating a decrease in the density of bone as a result of infection.

What is it and how exactly is root canal procedure?

Teeth are hard calcified objects but are not solid. Beneath the most mineralised layer of the body the enamel and the relatively less calcified layer, the dentin, is the inner aspect of the tooth that is occupied by the pulp tissue. This is called the pulp space, referred to as pulp chamber in the crown and root canal in the roots of the tooth. This hollow space contains arteries, veins, lymph vessels, connective tissue apart from nerves. Nerves are required for growth and development of the tooth during eruption after which its only function is sensory (transmitting sensation). In Root Canal Treatment therefore where the pulp space is thoroughly cleaned and the degenerated nerve is removed the sensation for that particular tooth is lost and is hardly missed.

Steps in Root Canal Treatment

1. Local anaesthesia: Most procedures are preceded by local anaesthesia to the concerned tooth causing numbness in the region surrounding it.

2. Access: Access is gained to the nerve area of the tooth by a dental drill and a hole is need which leads to the pulp chamber.

3. Debridement: Cleaning the tooth out to remove bacteria, degenerated nerve and debris is the next step, which is done using RC files. These files (which more or less look like rough pins) are a series of increasing diameter used with a twisting motion as well as up and down in the tooth to scrape and scrub the sides of the canals thus cleaning it. Also the tooth is periodically flushed with saline or water to wash it out.

4. Root Canal Filling: Once the tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, the interior is sealed by way of placing a root canal filling material either the same day or subsequently to eliminate the cosy cavelike location for the bacteria. The most common Root Canal filling material is a rubber compound called gutta percha which comes in preformed cones that are sized to matched the files used to clean the canals. An Root Canal sealer (paste) is applied to the canals as well as to the cones surface before it is placed into the root canal exactly to the tip of the tooth the length of which is confirmed with an x-ray The crown of the tooth is then filled with an amalgam (silver) filling which seals the tooth from above.

Common myths about Root Canal Therapy

1. The root canal pain is unbearable:
In most cases Root Canal Therapy almost becomes a non event, it being no more uncomfortable than an average dental filling as the nerve tissue in the tooth has degenerated and cannot transmit tooth pain.

2. It’s a long procedure: Contrary to popular belief that it takes several appointments lasting two to three weeks, your Root Canal Therapy may be over in as many as two sittings. As every case differs from the other it is difficult to generalise but on an average it certainly wont take more than three sittings.

3. Once Root Canal Therapy is done its over: This procedure is followed by placing a custom made crown (cap) which is available in different material like ceramic, metal or a combination to give additional reinforcement to the weakened tooth. Today being the age of the informed patient it is wise as well as essential to be fully aware of the technical details of any treatment we undergo, however minute. It’s always best to get to the root of your ailments to get rid of them!! .


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