Articles on oral health
Many of you who have been to a dentist must be very familiar with the word root canal treatment or RCT. To explain what it is, first you will have to understand the anatomy of the tooth. Tooth is like a coconut with a stronger covering outside (called enamel) and a slightly soft layer inside (known as dentin) and a very soft watery layer inside. This last layer is pulp, which is basically nerves and vessels. Teeth are protected by its enamel and dentin. When the tooth decays or gets fractured, infection gradually invade to the pulp. Once it reaches there it spreads easily. In those condition simple fillings on crown (part of teeth which is seen above the gums) is not sufficient. In that case we need to remove the infection from the pulp too, most part of which lies within the root (part of the teeth covered by the gums). This process is called root canal treatment (RCT).
In this process exposed or infected nerves are removed from the root canal of the tooth and then the canal is cleaned and widened. The canal then is sealed with some material so as to leave the canal sterile. The tooth after the root canal treatment will remain non-vital (dead) but functionally it can serve its purpose in chewing and other purpose of a tooth.
Myths about root canal treatment
Myth: Root canal treatment is painful.
Fact : Root canal treatment is not painful. In fact it helps to relieve pain. People normally go for dental treatment only when they have severe pain. Just like a wound hurts more when touched than untouched, RCT carried out during this pain causes a psychological impact on the patient and makes them think that the pain is due to the treatment rather than the disease itself.
People who have had RCT done several years ago may have had bad experience, but times have changed greatly. With the latest technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more painful.
Myth: A good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth).
Fact: Would you cut off your finger if it hurts or would you go through a treatment? Similarly it is better always to retain your original tooth than pull it out and replace it with an artificial tooth. Modern technologies have enabled us to replicate the natural tooth, but nothing can replace your natural tooth. Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option. An artificial tooth can also cause you to avoid certain food habits.
- Root canal treated tooth becomes brittle gradually and they tend to get fractured in later life. If your dentist finds these indications they might also advise you to put a cap over the tooth.
- Root canal treated tooth also get discolored over time. Discoloration can however be masked with various other procedures.
- Root canal treatment helps you save your original tooth.
- In cases of acute pain, pain subsides immediately after cleaning of the canal.