Root canal treatment:

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What is root canal treatment?

It is a procedure where the opening is made in the tooth to access the pulp tissue present in t he roots and root canals following which these are cleaned using special instruments and all pus and infected tissues are removed. Then filling of the canals is done with an inert material called as gutta percha. After filling of canals the lost tooth structure needs to be restored by filling and a crown over it to protect it.

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How does the infection reaches the roots?

When there is a deep cavity or sometimes even a small looking cavity may be deeper till inside. Since the tooth structure has layers and the middle layer is very porous the bacteria can travel deep inside. When it reaches the pulp tissue inside roots, the pulp tissue reacts by forming pus which increases the pressure inside a tooth causing tooth ache.
When the infection is long standing the pus can get converted into cysts etc.

Why do I need a root canal treatment? Why can’t we just do a filling?

The infection from pulp needs to be removed. Only antibiotics are not sufficient. And only filling cannot be placed till inside the canals till they are cleaned. If root canal is not performed pus can cause a big and painfull swelling or might stating to drain by forming a painfull opening. Sometimes infection reaches bone.

Will it be painfull procedure?

The root canal is perfomed under local anaesthetic which puts your tooth to sleep for a certain period of time.

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Why does the dentist say the additional support is required to keep my teeth tooth strong?

In some cases the tooth structure is completely lost due to extensive tooth decay or trauma. In such cases where only roots are left, we need to perform root canal as explained above followed by building of tooth structure. To build a tooth we use a tooth filling type of material but for that material to be held at the roots we need extra support which is called as post. This post is a pin like structure which is inserted in root canals to hold the filling material used to build the tooth structure.

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Why do I need a crown after root canal treatment?

After root canal, the tooth is not as strong as before because of loss of tooth structure during decay process and as well as in root canal procedure. Thus to prevent any breakage from biting forces we need to give a cap or crown over the tooth to protect it. Thus root canal is considered completed only when the crown has been placed over it.