Although the pain that starts in teeth with extensive caries or large fillings is temporary at first, it becomes constantly sharp and throbbing as time passes; it may even be felt as a severe pain in all the teeth in the affected area. Sometimes, a chronic abscess formation is detected in a routine radiography control when there is no pain.

The pulp is a soft tissue localized within the tooth structure. It contains nerve, blood, and lymph tissue. It is located within the thin tube-like channels in the root of the tooth and the pulp chamber in the dental crown.

This picture shows how if left untreated, caries will progress and damage the hard tissues and pulp of the tooth. If the caries is treated in its infancy, the problem will be solved with a small filling. If the caries are allowed to progress, root canal treatment will be necessary.

Caries begin as a white dot lesion (A), penetrate the enamel (B), progress to the dentin (C), affect the pulp (D), penetrate the pulp (E), and result in abscess formation in the jawbone.

If the pulp cannot regenerate when sick or injured, it becomes infected. Untreated pulp dies and pus (inflammation) organizes at the root tip. An abscess may develop at the root tip, which means the destruction of the adjacent bone tissue. With endodontic treatment, the diseased pulp tissue is removed and the damage caused by the infection in the tissues is allowed to be healed by the body’s defense system.

Today, endodontic treatment is performed with the principle of finishing in a minimum of sessions.

The treatment of the tooth includes the following steps.

  • Local anesthesia is applied. Thus, there is no pain during the procedure.
  • An entry path is created from the chewing surface of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
  • The pulp in the pulp chamber is removed, the root canals are cleaned and expanded and a suitable and correct form is created for the canal filling to be made later.
  • If it is decided that the treatment will last two or more sessions, not a single session, a temporary filling is placed at the entrance of the tooth between sessions. In this case, discomfort may be felt in the treated tooth area for a few days. Sometimes the pain may be more and dressing may be necessary before the appointment day.
  • During the last session, the temporary filling is removed and the root canals are filled. Complete and tight occlusion of the root tip should be ensured.
  • Following the completion of the treatment, the tooth must be restored. Depending on the amount of loss of tooth tissue, the restoration option is determined as filling or veneer (crown). Sometimes it is appropriate to place a post inside the root to provide structural support.

Does a root canal treat tooth decay?

Tooth decay is related to the accumulation of bacterial plaque. When oral hygiene rules are not followed (brushing teeth and flossing), plaque accumulation begins in the teeth and surrounding tissues, thus bacterial acid is formed and the teeth rot again. However, the root canal-treated tooth is not a living tooth. For this reason, it does not show the symptoms that occur with the formation of caries. It is usually detected on radiological examination.

Does the tooth treat with a root canal break more easily?

Teeth with root canal treatment are usually teeth with high substance loss. For this reason, they are more fragile. After root canal treatment, the most ideal restoration to protect the remaining tissue of the tooth is to make a crown on the tooth.

Does the tooth treated with a root canal continue to perform the same function?

By performing root canal treatment, the pulp tissue of the tooth (the tissue that provides the vitality of the tooth) is removed. The tooth is no longer alive. But the tissues around the tooth (bone, gingiva) are alive and allow the tooth to function in the same way.


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