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What Is A Root Canal Surgery? Benefits, Complications And Treatments

Root canal surgery is a dental procedure that comes under endodontics in dentistry. It helps reduce pain from a tooth that has become infected or abscessed due to bacteria. The inflammatory pulp is removed during the root canal procedure, followed by cleansing and sterilisation of the interior surfaces of the tooth and a filling inserted to close the gap.

Living with a rotting tooth is painful. In the early days, root canal procedures used to be intensely painful. However, with advancements in dental tools and local anaesthesia, patients nowadays experience little to no discomfort during the treatment that helps replace their infected tooth with a healthy dental implant or removable partial denture. [1]

The surgery often has certain side effects, like swelling in the tooth area, which may go after a few days. If the pain is not getting better, it is advised to consult a medical expert or an endodontist.

As per recent news reports, Kannada actress Swathi Sathish, who recently had a root canal treatment, experienced medical negligence when her face swelled after the treatment and is still swollen after 20 days of her operation. Is root canal a dangerous procedure?

Take a look at the details.

Why Is Root Canal Needed And What Happens During The Surgery?

A dentist or endodontist recommends a root canal operation to treat a broken or diseased tooth. Every year, millions of teeth are treated and preserved with the help of root canal surgery. The treatment helps alleviate pain and restore tooth health.

A tooth consists of soft tissues beneath the white enamel that contain blood vessels, connective tissues and nerves that aid in the growth of the root of the tooth. A fully mature tooth can survive without the pulp as the tissues around it may help provide the required nourishment. [2]

In situations when the tooth is broken or has a cavity, bacteria may enter the pulp and cause inflammation or damage, leading to pulp death, tooth loss or bone loss, when the decay gets deep or is left untreated over an extended period of time.

Benefits Of Root Canal Treatment

Some of the benefits of root canal treatment include:

  • Prevents the spread of the infection to other teeth. [3]
  • Prevent the risk of damage or infection to the jawbones.
  • Relieves pain and inflammation caused due to decay of the tooth.
  • Prevents tooth extraction.

Symptoms Indicating Root Canal Treatment

Some of the noticeable symptoms that may indicate a need for root canal surgery are:

  • Pain deep in the pulp area.
  • Swollen gums.
  • Tender gums.
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold.
  • Swollen jaw or nearly areas.
  • Boil or pimples in the gums.
  • Pain while chewing.
  • Cracked tooth.
  • Discolouration of the tooth.
  • Loose tooth.

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How Is A Root Canal Treated?

A root canal is treated in two ways, either by removing the bacteria or by tooth extraction. The first method is primarily chosen by medical experts as they say that it is best to keep the natural teeth.

To begin with, a dental expert may examine the X-ray of the teeth to determine the degree of the damage. Then, a local anesthesia will be administered to the patient to help them relax. A dental dam (latex or polyurethane sheets) is placed around the tooth to keep it clean, protected, and free of saliva, followed by the elimination of the decay via a hole that is made through the crown of the tooth. [4]

Inflammation around the dental pulp that may have occurred will go away naturally after a few days.

What To Do Before The Root Canal Surgery?

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Consume a light meal that contains soft foods.
  • Take prescribed medications, if suggested.

What To Do After The Root Canal Surgery?

  • Avoid eating right away.
  • Don't forget to take over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Avoid brushing soon after the surgery.
  • Gargle with salt water.
  • Avoid eating anything too cold or too warm.
  • Avoid any physical activities for a few days.

Are There Any Complications?

  • Sometimes, when a dentist is unable to find all the infected root canals for treatment, they may leave one canal untreated, which can cause the infection to spread to the bone. [5]
  • When the filling substance does not penetrate deep enough into the canal, the infection may resurface.
  • The root of the tooth may split during the procedure, making it difficult to fill the tooth properly.

Some Important Tips

  • When recovering from root canal surgery, it's crucial to take care of the teeth and avoid any triggers that may cause them harm.
  • It is advised to avoid chewing on hard items for a few days.
  • Avoid panicking if the swelling persists for a few days. If the swelling lasts for two weeks, consult a medical expert.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen, or safe and natural home remedies to relieve pain.
  • If you still experience discomfort or swelling after using pain relievers, see your dentist.
  • Avoid overindulging in sugary foods.
  • If you smoke, quit for a few days. It is best to avoid smoking at all.

To Conclude

Root canal surgery is a safe and effective method with a success rate of 98 per cent. In case the operation fails, a medical expert has many alternatives to preserve oral health.

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