Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, typically involves three main stages:
Diagnosis and Preparation:
- Assessment: The dentist examines the affected tooth, reviews X-rays, and assesses the extent of damage or infection in the tooth’s pulp and root canals.
- Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area around the tooth, ensuring a pain-free procedure.
- Isolation: A rubber dam is placed around the tooth to keep the area dry and to prevent contamination from saliva.
- Access Opening: The dentist creates a small opening in the crown of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals.
Cleaning and Shaping:
- Pulp Removal: The infected or damaged pulp tissue is carefully removed from the pulp chamber and root canals using specialized instruments. The canals are cleaned and disinfected to eliminate bacteria and debris.
- Shaping: The dentist shapes the interior of the root canals using instruments to ensure they are smooth and free of any remaining infected tissue.
- Irrigation: The canals are flushed with an antimicrobial solution to further disinfect and clean the area.
Filling and Sealing:
- Obturation: After the canals are cleaned and shaped, they are filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This material seals the canals to prevent reinfection.
- Sealing the Access Opening: The access opening in the crown of the tooth is sealed with a temporary or permanent filling material. In some cases, a dental crown may be recommended to provide additional protection and support to the tooth.
In many cases, a final restoration such as a dental crown is placed on the treated tooth to restore its strength, function, and appearance.
It’s important to note that the above stages may be adjusted based on the specific circumstances of the tooth and the patient’s needs. The goal of root canal treatment is to save the natural tooth and alleviate pain caused by infection or damage. The procedure is typically performed by an endodontist, a dental specialist who specializes in treating the inner structures of teeth.