What is a root canal and why is it sometimes necessary?
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontics, is a dental procedure performed to treat and save an infected or damaged tooth. It is necessary when the dental pulp, which is located inside the tooth and contains nerves and blood vessels, is inflamed or infected.
The causes of such inflammation or infection can be varied, including deep tooth decay, tooth damage from accidents or repeated dental procedures. If left untreated, the inflammation can cause significant pain, swelling, and even tooth loss.
During a root canal treatment, the dentist removes the infected or inflamed pulp, cleans the root canal thoroughly, and then fills it with a special material to prevent reinfection. This makes it possible to preserve the affected tooth, restore its function and relieve pain.
Root canal treatment is therefore an important measure to maintain the health of the tooth, relieve pain and avoid the need for tooth extraction. It is important to respond to signs of dental problems early and seek professional dental help to ensure the best chance of successful root canal treatment.
Proper prevention plays a critical role in significantly reducing the risk of dental problems, including the need for root canal treatment.
A central component of effective prevention is consistent and properly carried out oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth regularly, ideally three times a day, with a fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay from forming.
In addition to thorough dental care at home, regular dental care is crucial. Through regular checkups, the dentist can identify potential problems early and intervene before they develop into serious illnesses. Professional teeth cleanings in the dentist's office help to remove plaque and tartar, which can promote the development of tooth decay and gum disease.
Choosing the right dental care products, including an appropriate toothbrush, floss and mouthwash, also contributes to successful prevention. A balanced diet low in sugary foods and drinks can also help reduce the risk of tooth decay.
In summary, comprehensive oral hygiene, combined with regular dental checkups and a healthy diet, is crucial to minimize the risk of dental problems and avoid the need for root canal treatment. Prevention plays a key role in maintaining long-term dental health.
Process of a root canal treatment
During root canal treatment, the dentist removes the nerve tissue from the root canals while hygienically isolating the tooth using a rubber dam (rubber band), sterile instruments and high-precision measuring devices. These cleaned canals are then either immediately sealed tightly with a root filling paste or, in the event of inflammation, initially treated with a disinfectant medication and only filled in a later session.
Risks of root canal treatment
Root canal treatments are very demanding procedures and are often associated with complications. If the tooth roots and accordingly the canals are severely bent or narrowed, the dentist is often unable to completely clean and fill the root tip. These teeth remain risk teeth forever because the inaccessible part of the root is unsterile and therefore very susceptible to new infections. In this case, only an apicectomy or root amputation (shortening or complete removal of the root) can help. Instrument fractures pose further complications, as the fine spiral-shaped cleaning needles can get stuck in the canal and break off, especially in very narrow canals. If the broken instrument can no longer be removed, you have to expect a much worse prognosis.
The latest technologies such as lasers can have a positive impact on root canal treatment.
After a root canal treatment
Following the root canal treatment, the corresponding teeth must be stabilized with a solid denture. Otherwise, devitalized teeth tend to break due to the inevitable drying out and the unstable, hollowed out interior.
With a successful, dense root filling, the non-vital teeth can last just as long as vital teeth.