If you’re having problems with your teeth because of tooth decay, rather than having it extracted, you might want to consider root canal treatment. Personally, I strongly recommend getting a root canal treatment as this gives you the opportunity to retain the integrity of your teeth. How do I know? I received the same treatment from a dentist on Sydney Road, Brunswick for a tooth that was already in very bad shape that I thought I’d be losing it forever. The experience was an eye-opener for the simple fact that I had no idea what root canal treatment is except for the occasional hearsay about a dentist drilling a hole through my tooth and filling it up with a gummy paste. I understand if you are quite apprehensive about the procedure, too. That’s why I am sharing with you some things about the treatment to help you answer the question, “Should you or should you not undergo root canal treatment?”
Understanding the Basis for the Treatment
I found out that root canal is an endodontic procedure that aims to save our teeth that have been diseased or damaged or is filled with dead pulp. The dentist will only need to remove the pulp and replace it with a sturdier and more compact material. There is no need to remove the tooth.
The reason for the treatment is quite simple. We need to prevent the entry of microorganisms, especially bacteria, into the gums where these can enter the bloodstream and get scattered throughout the rest of the body.
I understood that the tooth is made up of, from the inside out, the pulp, the dentin, and the enamel. The pulp is mainly composed of soft tissues where blood vessels and nerves are found. The dentin contains tubules that connect to the pulp underneath it. The dentin also contains minerals that give it strength. However, the dentin is not as strong as the outer layer, the enamel, which forms a very hard protective layer around the tooth. Unfortunately, this is where the problem starts.
If the enamel gets eroded because of the formation of biofilm by resident bacteria in the oral cavity, the dentin gets exposed. If the cavity reaches the dentin layer, microorganisms can travel all the way down to the pulp where they initiate an inflammatory process. By this time, the pulp gets inflamed until infection sets in. If this is allowed to continue, it can break its way through the root and form abscess in the gum tissue leading to periodontal disease. This also increases the risk of systemic infection because the microorganisms would have already gained entry into the systemic circulation.
A Look at How the Treatment is Performed
From my experience, root canal treatment is a three-step process that aims to prepare the affected tooth for a more permanent filling. The steps are as follows.
- Cleaning – The first step involved the removal of pulp tissue from the root canal. The canal was then thoroughly cleaned so that no microbes or debris was left. Because the pulp contains nerve endings, I was given a local anesthetic to help numb the pain and facilitate the cleaning process.
- Reshaping – The inner surfaces of the root canal was then cleaned, reshaped, and decontaminated. This is very important to kill any microorganisms that may have remained after cleaning. The interior was also reshaped to allow for the more secure adhesion of the filling in step
- Filling – A thermoplastic substance known as gutta-percha was then inserted through the reshaped canal and compressed. This effectively sealed off the canal. The dentist then applied a crown on top of the filling to help provide for a more aesthetic look.
Should You or Should You Not Undergo Root Canal Treatment?
I asked myself the same question whether I should or should not undergo canal treatment. I found out that this greatly depends on the clinical assessment of our dentist. If the tooth is still viable and performing root canal can help save its overall integrity, then undergoing the procedure makes a lot of sense.
However, if there is already substantial loss of bone tissue because of periodontal disease or that there is massive trauma or perhaps even large decay, then having tooth extraction followed by dental implant should be considered.
In summary, we should have root canal treatment if our tooth still has some integrity in it and that it is worth saving. Otherwise, we may have to mull other dental treatments. Our dentist can help us decide.