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Can a dentist do root canal? Is root canal reserved to oral surgeons or can dentists offer the service as well? Is root canal too complicated to warrant referral to an oral surgeon? We take a look at root canal as a treatment option and the professional best placed to offer the service. So, what is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment
Root canal treatment is the endodontic treatment of the tooth where the dentist treats the inside parts of the tooth to help relieve pain and discomfort. Root canal treatment involves the removal of blood vessels and nerves contained in the pulp to help relieve pain when the tooth is affected by some sort of disease or complication.
The pulp contains connective tissues, blood vessels and nerves which are required to provide nourishment to the tooth as it grows but when the truth is fully grown, the pulp can be removed and the tooth will go about with its function as normal. This is possible because the tooth will now be receiving nourishment from the tissues surrounding it.
When root canal treatment is n-longer an option
Root canal treatment is therefore necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or is infected by certain bacteria. The inflammation can arise from tooth decay, cracking teeth or dental injuries. When inflammation occurs, the pulp is heavily affected and the highly sensitive nerves contained in the pulp pick up the signals and send them to the brain where the receptors process them as pain.
If left untreated the inflammation can further affect the tooth and eat into the enamel causing complete damage of the tooth. Root canal can help save a tooth because only the affected pulp is removed. This prevents the infection from spreading further to other parts of the tooth and relieving pain from the patient.
How root canal is carried out?
These are the steps to expect when getting a root canal treatment;
Examination of the tooth
The medical practitioner first examines the tooth to ascertain the severity of the infection of the pulp. Using x-rays the practitioner can see how badly the tooth is damaged and will devise the most appropriate means of treating the tooth.
Numbing of the tooth
Before starting to remove the pulp, the medical practitioner first administers a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and make the subsequent procedures literally painless. The medical practitioner then uses a dental dam to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and saliva-free during the procedure.
Making of an incision
To access the affected area, the medical practitioner makes a small opening in the crown of the tooth using a special scalpel and using special cleaning equipment, the dentists is able to clean the pulp and remove all the matter within the cavity.
Filling the space with substitute material
Once the pulp cavity is empty, then the medical practitioner uses special biocompatible material called gutta-percha to fill up the space left behind. The gutta-percha is held into place using a special adhesive cement.
Can a dentist offer root canal treatment?
Is root canal within the domain and jurisdiction of the dentist or is it reserved for oral surgeons and endodontists? Well, it all depends on the severity of the infection which prompts the root canal treatment.
As we have seen, the root canal treatment procedure is a precarious one and it leaves no room for error. This means that only the qualified and experienced individuals are capable of handling the procedure. Luckily enough, dentists are trained to carry out small simple oral surgeries in the mouth and they are capable of handling root canal treatments.
In serious cases though, dentists are not sufficiently equipped to carry out the procedures and have to refer their patients to endodontists for specialized treatment. Endodontists have extra training in oral surgery and no dental condition or root canal procedure is too complex for them to carry out. They are also trained to handle any emergencies that may arise during root canal treatment which makes them the most qualified for root canal treatment.
This does not mean that dentists shouldn’t be trusted with root canal procedures. Some dentists take extra classes on their own to perfect their expertise in oral surgery and such general dentists can competently handle root canal treatment. Our dentists here at Vita Dental Houston for example, have successfully carried out thousands of root canal treatment and can be fully trusted to get the work done.
Always consult with your dentist on his ability or lack thereof of him carrying out a root canal treatment. He/she will examine your situation and will advise on the best course to take. If he/she feels that the procedure is too complex, then he/she will courteously refer you to an endodontist.
For more information on root canal treatment, visit our offices in Spring Texas or give us a call and talk to our ever available customer service members.
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