Endodontics: What You Need to Know About Root Canal Treatment

The purpose of root canal treatment is to eliminate toothaches that cause discomfort. These pains may be caused by deep caries, trauma (fracture), or root tip abscesses.

During this procedure, the endodontist will remove the damaged tissue, clean the inside of the tooth, and fill the canals of the tooth with a special material to prevent the spread of infection. Root canal treatment is performed under local anesthesia. A slight discomfort may be felt after the procedure, and the pain usually disappears within a few days.

Fundamentals of Endodontics

Anatomy of the Tooth

To understand endodontics, it is important to have a basic knowledge of the anatomy of the tooth. The tooth consists of several layers: from outside to inside; enamel, dentin, and pulp. Enamel is the hard, outer layer of the tooth that protects the underlying layers. Dentin is the layer beneath the enamel and is softer than the enamel. The pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth and contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

Pathophysiology of Pulpal and Periapical (Tooth and Surrounding Tissues) Diseases

Pulpal and periapical diseases affect the tooth pulp and surrounding tissues. Pulpal diseases occur as pulpitis due to inflammation of the pulp, and periapical diseases occur as dental abscesses due to infection of periapical tissues.

Diagnosis of Endodontic Conditions

Diagnosis of endodontic conditions requires a comprehensive examination of the tooth and surrounding tissues. This includes taking X-rays, performing tests to determine the vitality of the tooth, and evaluating the symptoms reported by the patient. Once the diagnosis is made, appropriate treatment is planned.


Root Canal Treatment Procedures

Preparation for Endodontic Treatment

Before starting root canal treatment, special X-rays are taken to determine the extent of damage to the tooth and to make an accurate diagnosis. Vitality tests are performed to aid diagnosis and a treatment plan is determined. Local anesthesia is applied to ensure a painless procedure during root canal treatment.

Cleaning and Shaping the Root Canal System

After local anesthesia, in order to access the pulp of the tooth, the decay is completely removed and the appropriate entrance is opened to access the root canals, which we call cavities.

Root canals are mechanically cleaned and shaped using root canal treatment instruments. The disinfection process is supported by using some chemical agents.

Filling the Root Canal

Root canals, which are cleaned and shaped in the appropriate form, are filled using rubber-based "gutta-percha". Thus, the purpose of root canal treatment is achieved; the tooth is plugged from the root tip to the root canal entrance to prevent bacterial entry.

Restoration After Endodontics

Teeth that require root canal treatment are generally teeth with high material loss. Therefore, it is appropriate to apply crown, onlay or endocrown on the tooth to protect the tooth and restore its function. Determining the restoration that best suits the needs and preferences is a joint decision of the patient and the dentist.

A tooth that has undergone root canal treatment with proper care and attention can be used for a lifetime.

Can The Tooth Decay After Root Canal Treatment?

Tooth decay is associated with bacterial plaque accumulation. When an individual fails to follow the rules of dental care (brushing and flossing), plaque accumulation begins on the tooth and surrounding tissue, therefore causing bacterial acid formation and decay. However, the tooth after root canal treatment is not alive. For this reason, it doesn't show the symptoms presented by decay formation. Usually, it is spotted in a radiological exam.

Does the root canal tooth break more easily?

Teeth with root canal treatments are usually teeth that have high amounts of substance loss. Due to this, they are more fragile. The most ideal restoration after root canal treatment to preserve the remaining tissue is to put a dental crown on top of the tooth with the root canal.

Will The Tooth Keep Its Function After Root Canal Treatment?

Dental pulp (the tissue that keeps the tooth alive) is removed during root canal treatment. The tooth is no longer alive. However, the surrounding tissue (bone, gingiva) is still alive and helps the tooth maintain its function.

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