Olive Nabukeera had a painful tooth that gave her sleepless nights. She says all the painkillers she took did not give her the much needed relief. “I did not want to remove my premolar. I feared what I would look like if I smiled with a missing tooth,” she recalls.

After visiting the dentist, a root canal was recommended. “I have always known that a root canal is too painful and perhaps I needed time to make up my mind.”

After days of experiencing excruciating pain, Nabukeera decided to go for a root canal. She watched youtube videos about root canal treatment to help her understand the procedure. She says within three hours, the dentist had finished and the only thing she felt was numbness from the anaesthesia but the pain in the tooth was no more.

According to Dr. Patrick Kyagulanyi, a dental surgeon at Dental Solutions, there are very few occasions when the root canal treatment fails to work out as expected. He recommends the procedure as a better alternative than extraction of the tooth for most individuals.

“If a tooth has good support from the tissues such as the jaw bone and the gum, it stands a chance of being saved with a root canal treatment. It is a cheaper option than dental implants or bridges and requires the same maintenance like the normal teeth.”

The procedure

Root canal treatment does not only eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal but also prevents reinfection of the tooth. When one undergoes a root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp in the tooth is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected. It is then filled and sealed to prevent more residue food from entering through the hole, which can cause a reinfection with bacteria.

“On the day a root canal retreatment procedure is going to be done, anaesthesia will be administered through an injection on the gum, near the tooth. The affected tooth is isolated using a rubber dam that protects the tooth during treatment,” Dr. Kyagulanyi says.

After the dental surgeon gets access to the inner parts of the tooth by drilling a hole through the tooth, any filling material and obstructions that block the root canals will be removed using an ultrasonic hand-piece.

Dr. Kyagulanyi says: “The nerves in the affected tooth are all removed but the tooth remains functional since nerves serve a very little function in a fully formed tooth. Thereafter, some instruments are used to clean the inner parts of the tooth thoroughly and it is then reshaped.”

If the cleaning procedure gets complex and the patient is feeling a lot of pain, Dr. Kyagyulanyi says some chemical is applied to fill the tooth and cleaning can be done at the next visit. The amount of time the dentist will spend carrying out the procedure and its complexity depends on the level of inflammation and damage by infection.

He says, “When the dental surgeon is sure that the root canals are clean enough, a rubber material (gutta-percha) is used to seal the space in order to prevent bacterial invasion. Finally, a filling is applied to the tooth or even a temporary crown. When the patient goes back for review, a week or two after the procedure, a permanent colour that matches crown will then be placed.”

When to do root canal treatment?

Dr. Kyagulanyi says one can do a root canal treatment when they suffer from tooth decay, if the inside of the tooth (the pulp) becomes inflamed or infected as a result of repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns or a crack in the tooth. Other reasons include tooth decay, new fracture in the treated tooth, delay in the placement of restorative devices following the procedure, undetected complex canal structure and narrow canals not treated during the original procedure.

Have more questions about root canal treatment? Get in touch with the experts from York Hill Endodontics today.


Article originally appeared at: https://www.monitor.co.ug/

Author: Beatrice Nakibuuka