Root canal is by far the most common treatment done for teeth. The questions are
- Why is root canal required?
- When should a root canal be done?
Why is a root canal required?
The most common reason for a root canal is a deep cavity.
The tooth consists of multiple layers. The outermost is Enamel which is mineralized and the hardest substance in the human body. Inside the enamel is Dentin.
As long as the cavity is limited to the enamel or dentin, it can be treated by using a simple filling .As time passes the cavity progresses and reaches the innermost layer of the tooth called the Pulp. The pulp is the area of the tooth that has nerves and blood vessels. As a result, when the pulp gets infected, it causes severe pain.
The pulp connects the tooth to the underlying jaw bone. Gradually, as the infection spreads in the pulp it passes through the tooth into the underlying structures causing swelling.
Root canal is required because either there is active infection in the pulp that can spread to other structures or the pulp is already dead as a result of infection. The dead pulp, then serves as a perfect site for the bacteria to grow and further cause infection.
Other reasons for a root canal include
- Severe wearing off of teeth ,causing the pulp to open up
- Traumatic occlusion causing the jaws to collapse
- Infection of the gums that can infect the teeth indirectly
- Injury to the tooth due to a fall or sustaining a blow in that region.
How is root canal done?
In the process of doing a root canal, the infected pulp is cleaned and then the canal is shaped.
After a proper shape is given to the canal it is filled with a rubber based material so that it doesn’t get infected again.
The tooth is then sealed with a filling and a cap is generally placed on the tooth.
A cap needs to be placed on a root canal treated tooth because of loss of excessive tooth structure makes the tooth brittle. .