Root canal is one of the most widely known dental procedures in the world. It is basically a treatment that repairs and saves a badly infected or damaged tooth. Root canal treatment is almost always seen as the last option when it comes to dental treatment. And many people think that it is the most painful oral procedures they might ever undergo.
But contrary to popular belief, root canal treatment is not nearly as painful or uncomfortable as most people believe it to be.
In general terms, both root canal and root canal treatment essentially mean the same thing. But looking at the phrases in technical terms, root canal is the natural cavity within the centre of your tooth that houses a soft pulpy substance, blood vessels, nerves and other connecting tissues. On the other hand, root canal treatment, also called endodontic treatment, is the practice of repairing a badly damaged tooth by cleaning and sealing the root canal.
What is endodontic treatment all about?
The whole idea behind root canal treatment is to remove the pulp from the root canal, along with the infected nerves and clean the whole cavity out followed by resealing the cavity. This is done when the tooth’s pulp or nerves are damaged. Because of this damage, the tooth breaks down and bacteria begin to grow in the cavity. This will cause a severe infection in the pulp chamber that could lead to severe swelling of the gums which may spread to the face, neck or head, bone loss around the tip of the root etc.
What is the overall procedure that is followed during this treatment?
The actual process of a root canal treatment may vary depending on the practice you are getting the surgery at. But most endodontists follow this general procedure—firstly, a local anaesthetic is used to numb the affected tooth followed by drilling of a hole through the crown to reach the pulp chamber. The infected pulp and nerves are then extracted from the cavity and the cavity is reshaped to accommodate the filling. Irrigation is employed to clear out any residue or debris.
The canal is then filled with a permanent material called gutta-percha which keeps the cavity infection-free. Finally, the tooth is resealed and additional support is provided, if needed.