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Root canal treatment


Root canal - what is that?

Untreated caries or tooth decay is the most often cause of root canl treatment

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What is a root canal?rctopen.jpg
There is a separate compartment inside each tooth. If we cut the tooth in half, we will see that this compartment starts at the tip of the root (apex) as a shallow canal, widening and entering the crown part of the tooth-pulp chamber. Blood and nerves enter the tooth thru the apex forming the tissue-pulp. This pulp occupies the space inside the tooth (canal and the pulp chamber) bringing all necessary nutrition to the tooth structure through its vessels and it is protected from outside by healthy dentin and enamel. The often used term root canal really refers to what contained inside the tooth cavity- the pulp.

Why do we need Root Canal Treatment?
If the nerve gets inflamed the root canal treatment is necessary to save the tooth. The most common reason for the nerve infection (pulpit) is untreated caries Decay leading to root canal reaching the pulp chamber. Once the caries reaches the nerve, root canal treatment becomes necessary. The x-ray showes deep cavity leading into the pulp chamber. Once decay reaches the pulp (nerve) the root canal treatment is a must, in order to save the tooth. The decay on the x-ray shows as darker area. Clinically decay is alway deeper than it shows on the x-ray. So very often even if the x-ray doesn't show that caries has reached the pulp chamber, the root canal treatment is needed. That is why it is very important to have regular check ups, so your doctor can spot the cavity and treat it before it had reached the nerve and root canal treatment must be performed.

 Occasionally trauma or severe gum disease can cause nerve damage as well.trauma2.jpg The x-ray on the right was taken on a patient who presented himself with  complants on severe pain. Patient had a trauma while playing sports about 3 month before he ame to the visit. The dark area at the apex of the root shows the inflammation area which already spread to the bone area around the tooth. 
This is the example how important the use of sportguards (mouthguards) are when someone involved in sport activities.

 Pulpit (inflammation of tootht nerve) can cause unbearable pain, hardly controllable by even the strongesttrauma2.jpgpainkillers. Pain would increase during the night hours. Hot and cold would increase pain, and it would last for some time. If left untreated the nerve dies and the inflammation spreads thru the apex into surrounding bone causing the inflammation there and leading to periapical abscess. As the abscess develops, it dissolves bone around the apex of the tooth substituting it with soft tissue. It is like a sac with pus growing and “eating” the bone. Patients may feel pain biting on the tooth. Swelling develops. Left untreated these infections will continue to spread, causing more and more complication, sometimes very serious and life threatening. In many cases, patients  may not feel pain, or  may be of short duration not causing real problems. The lack of pain does not mean that there is no need for the root canal.