Endodontic treatment, commonly known as root canal therapy, is a procedure for treating permanent inflammation of the dental pulp (this is the layer of the tooth located deepest in the crown of the tooth, which also fills the so-called canals leading through the root). Bacteria from caries are the most common cause of pulp infection.
In simple terms, root canal treatment entails drilling a hole in the crown of the tooth, i.e., the part of the tooth visible above the gum, with very thin penetrating tools (0.06-0.4 mm), reaching the pulp, removing it from the canals, disinfecting, and filling the canals with special materials that seal and prevent bacteria growth (e.g., gutta-percha with an epoxy resin-based material). Finally, the tooth's crown is secured.
Endodontic treatment is required because, according to epidemiological studies, each adult has 1-2 teeth that require root canal treatment. This procedure enables you to maintain the tooth despite the extensive disease process that is occurring in it.
How many canals does a tooth have?
The number of canals in a tooth might vary. Incisors typically have one canal, whereas lower twos and threes may have two. Premolars typically have one or two canals. The canals in the molars are the most numerous. Top sixes have four canals more often than three. There are other teeth with five canals, as well as anatomical defects that can result in six or seven canals. This, however, is quite rare.
Indications for root canal treatment
Patients frequently visit the dentist because they are in discomfort. The dentist will most likely need to perform a root canal treatment if the tooth is in pain for more than two days without being the result of an injury. Pain informs both the patient and the clinician of the possibility of such treatment.
However, there are cases where the dead pulp does not give any pain symptoms, while during an accidental examination—on an X-ray—periapical changes appear, which are also an indication for root canal treatment.
The course of root canal treatment
Root canal treatment involves removing the inflamed pulp from the inside of the tooth, which must be performed under anesthesia. It also involves proper preparation of the canals, disinfection, and tight filling of the canal system.
Is root canal treatment painful?
Root canal treatment without anesthesia is painful, therefore local anesthesia is used , which guarantees complete painlessness during such a procedure.
How long does root canal treatment take?
Root canal treatment, particularly root canal treatment under a microscope, is an exceedingly accurate procedure. Root canal treatment is a time-consuming process due to the necessity for specialist equipment and tools, as well as the fact that the root canal system of the tooth is quite sophisticated. Treatment for multi-rooted teeth might take up to two hours.
Complications of root canal treatment
Root canal treatment is a difficult and laborious procedure that can lead to complications and undesirable effects.
- tool breakage,
- cracking, perforation of the crown or root,
- vertical root fracture,
- persistent pain after surgery, difficulty in biting, living,
- pain when percussing the tooth after treatment,
- tooth discoloration,
- swelling, active fistula,
- leaving caries in the walls of the tooth,
- leaving a leaky filling, which is associated with the further spread of bacterial infection, canal overflow,
- skipping a channel,
- the release of rinsing agents outside the root into the surrounding tissues, which can cause severe pain, swelling and bleeding,
- paresthesias .