The root canal treatment is perhaps the most well known of all the dental surgical procedures that are there. As scary as it might sound, the root canal treatment (officially known as the endodontic treatment) is a fairly simple series of operations done in one go in order to disinfect and replace the interiors of an infected or injured tooth.
To understand why a root canal treatment is important or how it works, it is necessary to understand what the ‘root canal' is. The root canal refers to a naturally occurring hollow inside the tooth where there is a pulp matter filling up the hollow (also known as the pulp chamber). This pulp is what the ‘dentin' portion of the tooth is composed of and it is said to lose its original function after the secondary teeth (adult teeth) have attained full maturity. This happens roughly between 1-2 years after the adult teeth have come up.
The pulp is made out of loose tissue with a lot of blood vessels and some nerve tissue. The canal itself is not a simple hollow but a very complex array of canals with lots of branches that compliment the main canal.
The problem with this pulp is that it is very conducive to microbial infection. Normally that does not happen because it is completely sealed from all such possibilities by the tooth enamel. But when for some reason the tooth is damaged or gets penetrated by infection, the pulp also becomes infected. This is when things start getting really bad for the patient.
With the pulp infected, the whole area becomes exceedingly tender and sore. The infection is also very stubborn because it feeds on the richly supplied pulp. This leaves the dentist with no choice but to remove the pulp. The procedure that is followed during this removal is called the root canal treatment.
The root canal treatment involves multiple stages. The first stage involves drilling a hole in to the crown of the tooth. This makes way for accessing the root canal where the pulp is situated. Once the pulp chamber is accessible, the drill is swapped out for a mini pump. This is used to clear out all the pulp form inside of the pulp chamber.
Once the removal is complete, it leaves behind an empty cavity that cannot be left on its own. This cavity is disinfected to prevent future infections an then it is filled with a special rubber based solution that takes the place of the pulp and prevents the tooth from caving in on itself. Once all of this is done, the only thing left to fix is the hole that was drilled on top of the tooth. This is plugged by placing an artificial crown on top of it and sealing everything in.
Once this whole procedure is done, there is almost no recovery time and the patient can get back to daily life right away. This procedure completely prevents any further reinfection when done right.