One of the most common causes of unbearable toothache is an infection in the space within a tooth, which affects its nerve tissue and the tissue surrounding its roots. Ranging from mild and intermittent pain to a constant and debilitating ache in the jaw, this kind of infection warrants a visit to the dentist for root canal treatment.
Traditional root canal treatments are conducted in multiple sittings. On the first sitting, the dentist opens the tooth to gain access to the nerve of the tooth in order to remove it. The following visits will focus on cleaning and shaping, and then filling and sealing of the tooth. With a single visit approach, however, the treatment procedure is completed in one sitting.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment, also called just a “root canal” or RCT, involves the treatment of the infected pulp chamber in the interior of a tooth. It is the treatment of choice for degenerative tooth nerve tissue, exposed nerves, recurrent pimples on gums, acute tooth abscess and various other tooth root pathologies.
It comprises of three steps:
- Tooth Opening:
This is done in order to gain access to the nerve of the tooth, which is the pulp chamber, to remove the infected pulp.
The necrotic or infected pulp is taken out, and the space is cleaned to ensure there is no infected tissue left behind.
The space is sealed off to avoid further contamination of the interior from outside and vice versa.
Most people have nightmares about root canal treatments, but with advancements in dental techniques as well as newer instruments and technology (rotary endodontics, ProTaper system, radiovisiography, etc.), all of this is possible in a single visit, without compromising the safety and efficacy of the treatment.
Single Visit Advantages and Procedure
The main advantage of this treatment is that you don’t have to take out two or more days from your schedule for multiple root canal sittings, and there is little to no difference in cost as compared to traditional multi-visit procedures. In fact, since you will typically pay separately for each visit, a single sitting works out more affordable too!
Here’s what happens during the treatment:
- Access is created to the pulp chamber.
- Infected pulp and damaged nerve is taken out using rotary files.
- The space is washed with antiseptic solution.
- Once dry and clean, the space is sealed with special bio compatible material called G.P. (Gutta Purcha) Points.
- Temporary filling of cavity is done, which will later be replaced by permanent composite filling.
- Ideally, capping of the tooth should follow the root canal treatment.
- The entire procedure typically takes only 30-60 minutes, but in case of multi-canal systems it can take up to 90 minutes.
Any patient who needs a root canal is eligible for single visit treatment, and there is only one prerequisite that needs to be met – no pus accumulation/swelling. X-Ray can confirm the absence or presence of pus in the form of Periapical Radiolucency.
In case there is pus/swelling, the dentist will clean the space, allow the pus to drain and then apply an ointment and close up the opening with a temporary filling. The rest of the procedure will then be conducted in a second sitting, after the swelling and pus formation has subsided.
If you’ve been told to get a root canal and have been holding off just because you can’t set aside the time for multiple dental visits, schedule a single sitting RCT right away!