Root canal means the cleaning out of the nerve canals which are situated in inside a tooth’s root. This treatment is done when a tooth is infected or damaged. In olden days, the tooth was usually removed when it decayed, but with root canal procedure, you can now save your natural tooth.
Structure of the tooth
The tooth has two parts – the crown and the root.
The outermost layer of the tooth is enamel – a coating of white, hard substance on the crown that protects it from damage. Enamel is the hardest substance in our body, which protects the inner parts of the teeth from the wear and tear caused by everyday use.
Dentin is the second layer. It is made up of bone like material that is softer than enamel, and carries some of the nerve fibres which cause pain when something goes wrong with the tooth.
The pulp is the vital part of tooth made up of soft tissue in the centre of the tooth.It contains blood vessels, lymph tissue and nerves.
Endodontic or root canal treatment is advised when the tooth becomes infected. When the tooth is decayed, you will need to remove the dead tissue and pulp from its interior. The narrow channels in the pulp are emptied and cleaned, and then filled with materials to reduce pain and recurring infection.
An infection in the tooth can be painful. Since root canal treatments are advertised to be easy and painless, many people think of tooth pain and root canal as a fact of life which has to be accepted.
But why go through root canal treatment at all if it is possible to avoid it through proactive care of the teeth from the beginning?
When do you need root canal treatment?
When the tooth is injured or is not taken care of as it should be, the oral bacteria and infection enters into the pulp, causing decay. Exposure to bacteria traumatizes the pulp and kills it slowly. This can cause enormous pain because the pulp contains nerve endings.
- Root canal becomes inevitable when bacteria enter pulp and make it vulnerable to deep infections.
- When a tooth develops a crack or chip in the tooth, it invites bacteria to enter into tooth and cause decay.
- A tooth may become infected when old fillings fall off, exposing inner tooth to bacteria.
The best way to avoid root canal is keeping the excellent standard of oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist.It is also important to insist on the best materials available for any fillings and crowns.
How to prevent root canal treatment
The best way to prevent root canal later in life is to initiate good dental care habits in your children from the time they are born. Check out this infographic on Root Canal Aftercare.
- Wipe your baby’s mouth with a soft cloth before they go to sleep for long hours.
- Once the teeth erupt, start using a thin film of baby toothpaste and use a baby tooth brush to clean the baby’s teeth.
- As children grow, insist on regular schedule for brushing of teeth.
- Brushing and flossing children’s teeth before bedtime is critical. Parents should take active role in brushing schedule of their children till they are 7 – 9 years old.
- There are disclosing rinses available, which will stain the plaque in the mouth. This will help children making efforts to reduce plaque from specific places.
- Fluoride helps in reducing acid in our mouth. Use children and adult fluoride rinse.
- Good oral hygiene habits combined with regular checkups with your dentist will keep root canal away from you and your children for long years.