Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment also known as endodontic treatment involves removing the nerves and blood vessels that supply the impacted tooth. This procedure can help to save the natural teeth.
What is Root Canal Treatment (RCT)?
Root canal treatment is carried out to save the affected tooth and prevent the spread of infection. The procedure involves removing the damaged pulp from the tooth and the root canal is then cleaned of all bacteria.
After the bacteria have been removed, the root canal and pulp will be filled up using an artificial substance, before being sealed.
Signs that you might need a Root Canal Treatment
You may feel some or all of these symptoms, and these are common indications of the need for a root canal:
- spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting
- sensitivity to hot and cold foods not relieved by other means
- severe tooth decay (deep decay) or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone
Root Canal Treatment Procedure
What is done during root canal treatment (RCT)?
Root canal treatment involves removing the nerves and blood vessels that supply the tooth (root canal system). It is needed when the nerve of the tooth (known as the pulp tissue) is infected & dies because of decay or trauma from accident / fall.
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. This may require two or more visits to your dentist as it has to be performed meticulously. The aim of the treatment is to remove as much infection from the root canal as possible. A good amount of local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth.
What is the difference between RCT & implants?
Implants, on the other hand, are specially made posts that replace the roots of teeth that are missing and are used to support a new crown, fixed bridge or denture. It is made of titanium, a strong and lightweight material which has been shown to be compatible with the body and safe for use.
The dentist will take some X-rays during the procedures. The tooth is isolated with a rubber dam and a clamp on the tooth. This is to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
The dentist will administer an injection (local anaesthesia) to the area around the tooth. You will feel a bit “fat” on the cheeks when you are numb. The dentist will drill, remove all decay present, and make an opening into the pulp chamber. Next, using a very fine instrument known as a file, the infected nerve is located and removed. The canal is rinsed, and medication is placed inside the root canal to kill bacteria. The dentist will place a temporary filling to safeguard the canal. This is to prevent it from being damaged by saliva. Material called Gutta-percha, a plastic substance from a Malaysian tree called a percha tree, is used as a permanent filling in root canals
During the next visit, the tooth will be numbed with a local anaesthetic. Your temporary filling in the tooth will be removed. Progressively thicker files are used to clean and shape the entire length of the root canal. Medication is placed within the root again and a temporary filling is placed.
The dentist will have to repeat the procedure in another visit, depending on the number of canals and the case’s complexity. Finally, the root canal is rinsed, dried, and filled with a rubber material. A filling is placed on top. Your dentist will take a post-operative x-ray to check if all affected areas are treated. The dentist may also suggest a dental crown following the treatment to reinforce and restore the tooth.
Why do we need to do crowns after RCT?
It depends! After the root canal, your dentist will inform you if you require a crown or not based on your tooth’s condition and by examining the remaining tooth structure. Generally, if the remaining tooth structure is less than half of the tooth, your dentist will suggest a dental crown. So, you will need to have the crown of the tooth rebuilt if it is missing more than half of its original structure.
Is Root Canal Treatment painful?
If you are afraid that it is painful, you can stop worrying because the procedure is akin to having a filling placed. It only poses slight discomfort, and the pain before the dental care (infection is left untreated) is likely much worse than during the procedure itself. The pulp inflammation or infection causes toothache or pain. When the infected pulp is removed it can relieve the pain and save the tooth. The modern techniques and anaesthetics used will keep you as comfortable as possible.
Benefits & Side Effects
Benefits of root canal therapy
- Relieve symptoms of infection
- Improved appearance
- Prevent extraction
Side effects of the root canal therapy
- Undetected cracks in the root
- Erosion of the filling/seal
What can I eat after the root canal treatment?
These types of foods and beverages most suitable
The advice for patients is not to chew hard food after the treatment because there is a higher chance that your tooth-canal-treated tooth can fracture. Anything soft would be ideal. It would be best if you tried to eat soft food like:
- Smoothies, yoghurt, ice cream and milkshakes.
- Soups, soft salads, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.
- Eggs, milk, cream of wheat and pancakes.
- Bananas, mangos, pears and peaches.
- Applesauce, pudding and hummus.
These types of foods and beverages can cause damage
- Hot and cold food and beverages will irritate sensitive teeth
- Sticky foods like gum, caramel, and other candies can stick to your teeth
- Chewy foods like steak and crusty bread will require a lot of chewing
- Hard foods like nuts can damage
It is advisable not to eat for a few hours until the numbness in your mouth goes off so you don’t bite your cheek or tongue.
Can you still get pain in a tooth that has had a root canal?
After the treatment, the tooth is non-vital and dead, so it becomes weak and brittle. It is weak because of decayed areas and the centre of the tooth, whereas the infected nerves and connective soft tissue have been removed leaving little tooth structure left for support. It is more brittle because the vessels nerves and connective blood supply are gone. For posterior teeth that experience more force during the chewing cycle, they may develop cracks & fractures if not protected with a crown.
Yes, there’s a possibility that you may experience pain in a tooth that has already had a root canal.
Some causes of this pain are because of:
- The root canal not healing properly
- Unable to completely disinfect the root canal (Due to the anatomy/structure)
- New decay infects the root canal-filling material, which causes a new infection
- A tooth injury that causes decay of the tooth
Insurance & Subsidies
Root Canal Treatment Singapore: Can I use MediSave/CHAS?
Root canal cost Singapore: not covered by MediSave, thus not claimable.
Root canal cost Singapore: You can claim through CHAS. CHAS subsidies are available for both root canal treatment (up to 2 per calendar year) and dental crowns (up to 4 per calendar year). You can find the relevant subsidies below:
CHAS Orange | CHASBlue | Merdeka Generation | Pioneer Generation
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