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Reasons Why You Need A Root Canal Treatment

September 15, 2020 10:42 am Published by
Why You Need A Root Canal

Root canal treatment means treating the root of the tooth to get rid of the decay and the bacteria that is causing it and prevent the decay from recurring by cleaning, filling and sealing the tooth. A tooth can be saved by removing decayed pulp and sealing it with a sealant so that infection does not spread to neighbouring teeth.


The branch of dentistry that deals with root canal treatment is called endodontics, which deals with diseases of the softer part of the tooth called the dental pulp.

Parts of the tooth

The tooth is made up of 4 basic parts which are: enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp. Enamel is the white, hard, a little translucent, and the outermost part of the tooth, to protect the inner parts. It can take the pressure biting but cannot repair itself or regrow. Dentin lies beneath the enamel and cementum and is not as hard as enamel, which makes up the bulk of the tooth. Dentin is responsible for giving the teeth of a person its colour. Cementum covers the root of the tooth. It is thinner than enamel but is harder than dentin. The pulp is the innermost part of the tooth containing all the nerves and blood vessels that supply the tooth. The pulp has two parts one is located at the crown and other is under the root of the tooth. If the pulp gets exposed, it can be infected with bacteria and requires root canal therapy to clean it.

The cavity inside the centre of the tooth is described as a root canal. This cavity or pulp chamber as it is called is the actual root canal where the nerves of the tooth lie.

After the tooth has fully grown, the nerve is not needed for the tooth’s functionality. Its function is to provide hot or cold sensation, and its absence will not affect the regular work of the tooth which is basically chewing and also giving a contour to the face.

The root canal treatment is required when this pulp gets damaged and the nerve tissue breaks down, the bacteria thrive and multiplies into pulp chamber. The bacteria create debris and infection creating a pocket of abscess at the bottom of the tooth. This pocket grows and causes swelling and bone loss in the root. This abscess if goes untreated, can create abscess around the affected tooth and the surrounding area gets decayed causing unbearable pain because it occupies the space affecting nerves at the tip of the root.

Who can benefit from root canal treatment?

People who have the following symptoms require root canal treatment.

  • Severe pain while chewing: When a tooth is pressed for chewing, the pulp gets pressurised causing severe pain if there is infection in the pain.
  • Sensitivity to teeth: The nerves in the pulp that reaches the tip of the root get the sensation of cold or hot. When this nerve is decayed or exposed, it causes very strong hot and cold sensation on the teeth.
  • Small eruptions on the gums: When the pulp gets infected, it reaches the tip of the root canal and gets further down in the gums, making small eruptions of decay on the gums.
  • Swollen gums: The gums get swollen with the bacteria and abscess causing pain and making chewing very difficult.
  • Dental caries: When the pulp gets exposed through cracks in the tooth the bacteria in the mouth affects the whole canal and eats away the dentin and the entire canal gets filled with decay and abscess causing a cavity in the tooth which can eventually break down the tooth.
  • Injuries to the tooth due to trauma or cracked teeth: Accidents can cause injuries to the tooth. If the injury causes a part of the tooth to break, the inside of the tooth gets exposed inviting bacteria to work on it. Even when a tooth is not broken or chipped, but has undergone a heavy pressure on it due to an impact, the pulp gets affected and develop sensitivity and decay in it.
  • Repeated treatment on the tooth: Sometimes a tooth gets a lot of work done on it due to repeated problems. In this case, the root canal cavity is open to attack of bacteria and develop abscess.
  • Problems with earlier dental filling: Due to various reasons the same tooth may develop problems because of the filling that was used has dislodged or is not suitable for the person. When this filling comes out, it exposes the pulp which can get decayed again.

Procedure for root canal treatment

When the pulp gets infected causing sever tooth ache, the root canal treatment is carried out by the endodontist. He creates a hole through which inserts his tool and diligently removes the decayed pulp. When all the pulp has been removed, he cleans the inside space of the root canal with care. After the cleaning there is a cavity inside the tooth which has to be filled, or else it can get infected again or it can make the tooth weaker and vulnerable to break under pressure. He chooses a suitable filling from a variety of fillings available, and fills the empty space. He then seals the top of the tooth so that the filling can stay in place. The dentist usually places a restorative device, like a cap on the tooth to make it durable. This restored tooth will be able to return to its full functionality for a long time, like other natural teeth.

What causes the root canal to decay?

The bacteria that causes tooth decay resides in our mouths. When proper dental care is not carried out regularly, these bacteria get to work. The teeth need to be protected with brushing and flossing. When we eat food, the sugar in the food remains in the mouth for a long time. This sugar particles gets washed away with brushing the teeth. If they remain in the mouth for long, they form a thin layer on the enamel or outer layer of the teeth. The bacteria work on the sugar and produce acid which can eat away the enamel and reach the pulp causing decayed pulp and inner root canal cavity.

The best way to avoid getting root canal and pulp decay is to follow a strict dental hygiene routine.


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This post was written by Letooth

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