white fillings

If dental caries remains untreated, it rapidly expands within the softer, weaker inner layer of the tooth that is called dentin. Enamel is the protective layer of the tooth and Progression of dental caries within enamel layer is slow and takes anywhere from few months to few years. However, once dental caries reaches the softer weaker dentin that underlies enamel, it rapidly spreads to vital parts of the tooth, causing infection, disrupting the blood supply to the tooth, and ultimately resulting in extreme pain, swelling and death of the tooth (a process called necrosis).

What are the symptoms of infected tooth

Symptoms of an infected tooth range from mild pain and prolonged sensitivity to sever pain and facial swelling. Symptoms usually occur in contact with cold and sweet foods and drinks. Once the symptoms have occurred, it is often toot late to reverse the process, and tooth requires a specific procedure to eliminate the infection that resides within the tooth. This procedure is called Root Canal Treatment.

What is Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a procedure by which the inner portion of the tooth that housed nerves, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and stem cells that had become infected with bacteria, are removed and disinfected. Because our teeth are a closed system, antibacterial drugs have little to no chance to penetrate the living part of the tooth. Therefore, any infection entering this space will remain there until it is physically removed.

How is Root Canal Treatment performed

Once the symptoms of possible tooth infection have been identified, a series of test are performed on the tooth to ensure the accuracy of the diagnosis. Based on the extent of infection and associated pain/swelling, RCT maybe performed immediately or delayed until after facial swelling has subsided and is determined on a case-to-case basis. There is no medical contraindication to performing Root Canal Treatment. However, if a tooth is not fully erupted, or the roots have not fully formed, as may be the case for a young patient, Root Canal Treatment will be postponed. In the meantime, management of the infection will be the primary goal.

Upon complete removal of the infected particles, and disinfecting the canals, canals spaces are filled with Gutta percha Gum, a naturally occurring plant-based substance mixed with barium mineral. Barium is mixed with the canals filling material to illuminate it in the Xray’s showing the presence, and/or the effectiveness of the root canal treatment. Having some pain and soreness following Root Canal Treatment is normal. These symptoms often peak a few hours after the procedure and subside after 24-hours. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed to manage these symptoms.

Are there any complication associated with Root Canal Treatment

Extent of infection, and presence of swelling prior to initiation of Root Canal Treatment are two of the important factors that determine the presence or absence of post operative complications. Therefore, it is very important to see a dentist as soon as any of the symptoms associated with dental infections have occurred to make a timely diagnose and initiate appropriate treatment. Delaying Root Canal Treatment is associated with increased swelling and possible hospitalization, post operative pain, and lower success rate of Root Canal. However, with timely diagnosis, and proper treatment, Root Canal Treatment is one of the safest and longest lasting treatment modalities available in dentistry.