Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential to preserve the health of the teeth and prevent the accumulation of food residues and dental plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that sticks to your teeth and is made up of mucus, food debris, and bacteria. When the oral cavity is abundant with bacterial plaque, it is very likely that the bacteria present in that substance gradually wear away the dental enamel or penetrate the tooth through the interdental line, gradually causing the formation of a cavity.
Tooth decay is the main enemy of oral health. This disease occurs due to the acid that bacteria generate when they metabolize sugar in food. This acid gradually erodes all the tissues of the dental structure until it significantly compromises the health of the tooth and puts its permanence in the oral cavity at risk. When a cavity progresses to the deepest part of the tooth known as the pulp or nerve, a root canal must be performed immediately to try to save the tooth.
What is a root canal?
The teeth are made up of many parts, that is, they are not just that strong white structure that delineates our smile, in fact, they are much more complex than we think. To know what a root canal is, we must know how the teeth are formed: in addition to that white part that exercises dental function and is known as the crown, each tooth has a root that is inserted into the bone to permanently retain the tooth.
In addition, each tooth has a protective layer on the crown called enamel, which is difficult to destroy. If we go through the enamel we find the dentin and later the pulp, which is the center of the tooth and is located in the deepest part of its structure. The pulp is a kind of soft tissue where all the nerve endings of the tooth are found. Although dentin and enamel protect the pulp, decay is so abrasive that if it is not stopped in time it can reach that part of the tooth and affect the nerves and cause a lot of pain.
Endodontics is the dental treatment that is carried out to save a tooth whose pulp is very affected. Endodontics is also known as root canal treatment and consists of removing the pulp in whole or in part to prevent inflammation of the periodontal ligament, remove all the damaged structure of the tooth, fill the cavity left by the pulp and seal the tooth very well to prevent new bacteria or food residues from penetrating.
A tooth that needs to be treated with endodontics is a tooth in very poor condition and this treatment is the only alternative to save the dental bone and prevent the tooth from loosening. Therefore, if your dentist recommends you perform a root canal treatment, do not hesitate to do so, otherwise you will have to use prostheses or dental implants later on.
When is a root canal performed?
As we explained previously, endodontics is carried out when the pulp is so affected by the accumulation of bacteria in the deepest part of the tooth that it is necessary to remove it so as not to compromise the useful life of said dental structure. There are many factors that can cause a dental infection, the most common are the following:
- Tooth decay : it is the most common cause of pulp infection that leads to root canal treatment. When the caries is very aggressive and quickly penetrates the enamel and dentin, it meets the nerve endings of the pulp and begins to cause significant pain. Once the caries has reached the pulp, root canal treatment is the only thing that can be done.
- Periodontal disease : peirodontal disease is one that affects the health of the gums and begins with gingivitis. Gingivitis causes swollen gums, bleeding, bad breath, and sore tooth tissue. When the gums are inflamed and retracted, bacteria more easily penetrate the tooth through the interdental line, which facilitates their access to the pulp.
- Tooth infection : any oral infection can penetrate the teeth and reach their deepest part.
How long does a root canal last?
Endodontics is a treatment that can be performed in one or more sessions, depending on the complexity of the case. In general, a root canal treatment is carried out in 4 sessions of two hours each, that is, the person will have to attend the dentist more than once. Once the endodontics is done, the work is usually quite durable in time if it is the first time the tooth is repaired. However, when a root canal is performed for the second time on the same tooth, the results are usually not as satisfactory, which is why most dental specialists prefer in these cases to extract the tooth and place an implant.
Endodontics will last as long as the person maintains good dental hygiene habits, follows the dentist’s instructions after the intervention and avoids as much as possible any type of blow or trauma to the repaired tooth. A root canal treated tooth is a tooth without pulp, therefore it is much more sensitive than the others.
Endodontics: a painful treatment
When a person tells that they have undergone a root canal, they do so by opening their eyes and using alarming gestures, as if they were trying to transmit all the pain they experienced through their face. And it is that yes, to perform a root canal treatment the tooth has to be very deteriorated and it has surely caused discomfort for some time. In addition to this discomfort of the infected pulp, it should be mentioned that during endodontics the specialist penetrates to the deepest part of the tooth and, nevertheless, removes it, that is, removes all the dental nerves.
Fortunately, endodontics is carried out under the effects of local anesthesia and, although the application of anesthesia on the palate is painful, it is not as strong as living a root canal without anesthesia. Once the session is completed, the effect of the anesthesia will pass after approximately two hours, when that happens it is important to have the pain relievers prescribed by the dentist on hand in case of presenting a lot of pain. Eating soft, cold foods such as ice cream is very helpful in preventing chewing discomfort.
How to prevent a root canal
If you consider that endodontics is such an invasive and odorous treatment that you are never going to go through it, then you should take into account the following tips to preserve the health of your teeth and avoid all kinds of oral disease:
- Brush your teeth every day at least twice a day, the first time after breakfast and the second before going to bed.
- It is essential that you use antibacterial mouthwash, as this substance helps kill unhealthy bacteria in the oral cavity while protecting and strengthening your teeth.
- The use of dental floss should not be ruled out of the dental hygiene routine. The thread allows to remove, plaque, dirt and impurities in ligaments where the bristles of the toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is the key to removing excess toothpaste, preventing cavities and periodontal disease.
- If you suffer from periodontal disease, it is vital that you visit a dentist every six months to thoroughly clean your teeth and prevent the accumulation of plaque or tartar between the teeth from further affecting the health of your gums. In the market there are mouthwashes that are of great help to squid the pain of inflamed gums and fight bad breath.
- When you finish eating a meal or food with sugar, it is essential to immediately brush your teeth and rinse the entire oral cavity with plenty of water. Sugar is the preferred food for bacteria and when they digest it, they turn it into a very abrasive acid that destroys all dental tissues.
- If you notice symptoms of a cavity such as tooth pain, sensitivity to cold or heat and chills when eating sweet and citrus foods, then immediately visit your dentist to treat the condition and prevent it from progressing to the dental pulp.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.