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Teeth are a part of the body that do not heal themselves. Proper care is therefore very important. Maintaining good dental hygiene can go a long way to prevent any infections and/or teeth loss. Despite this, dental hygiene is something that a lot of people neglect and, as a consequence, dental health suffers. In the case of teeth, prevention is definitely better than cure. However, that does not imply that in the case of infection there is no cure. Dental treatments are mostly held to be something to be feared by a wide amount of the populace. One such treatment that people are often prescribed in the treatment of infected and damaged teeth is the root canal treatment, widely known simply as the root canal.

The root canal treatment is a type of endodontic treatment which is performed when the pulp of a tooth gets infected or damaged. Endodontic treatments are those that treat the inside of the tooth. The root canal actually refers to the natural cavity within the centre of the tooth, not the procedure itself. The pulp is the soft tissue inside of the tooth, within the root canal. It contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues and it is important for the tooth’s growth and development. A root canal treatment is done to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. This can happen when the pulp is infected or damaged. This in turn could lead to inflammation and the formation of abscess- a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. Some common causes that might result in an infected pulp include:

• Deep decay of the tooth

• Repeated dental procedures on the tooth

• Large fillings

• Cracked or chipped teeth

• Trauma to the face

Root canal treatment involves the removal of the pulp, after which the inside of the tooth is cleaned and then sealed. A lot of people are afraid of the procedure because they think that it would be painful. This is not the case, many people have described it as being no more painful than getting a filling placed. Root canal treatment involves a series of steps:

1. X-Ray:

The tooth is x-rayed to examine the shape of the root canals and check for signs of infection in the surrounding bones. Then the area around the tooth is numbed using local anaesthesia.

2. Rubber dam:

A sheet of rubber is placed around the tooth to keep the area dry and saliva-free during the procedure.

3. Cleaning:

An access hole is drilled into the infected tooth through which the infected pulp is removed from the tooth. This cleaning out process is done by the use of root canal files which are used to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals. Water or sodium hypochlorite is used to flush away the debris periodically.

4. Sealing:

After the cleaning, the tooth is sealed. If the dentist chooses to finish the procedure on a different day, a temporary filling is placed in the hole in the tooth to keep out contaminants. To seal the tooth, a sealer paste and a rubber compound are placed in the root canal and a filling is placed in the hole in the tooth.

5. Restoration:

After the prior steps, the tooth will be left more fragile, so a crown or filling is used to offer protection. The patient should avoid chewing or biting on the tooth until the crown or filling is completed. After that, the tooth can be used normally.

After the procedure, there might be some lingering sensitivity for a few days. Keeping teeth clean, reducing sugary food, flossing all help in post-treatment care. A root canal treatment is not something to be avoided as this would just result in further complications and prolonged discomfort. Head over to the dental centre at Naseem al Rabeeh to avail the services of our highly qualified dentists.

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