Is it possible to use medication to repair hurting roots that aren’t as damaged to warrant a root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment (RCT) is the cleaning of the innermost chamber of the tooth, the pulp. It is the pulp that provides the blood and nerve supply to the tooth and hence the source of pain. Once a cavity has touched the pulp of the tooth, or is very close to it, a root canal treatment is recommended.

The dentist removes the infected pulp and replaces it with a bio-compatible material. The pulp has to be removed from both the crown (the portion of the tooth that you see) and the canals of the root (the portion inside the bone). Hence the name, root canal treatment. Since this area is inside the bone, it is also the reason why the dentist requires some form of radio-graph  to determine the outline of the root and its canals.

At this level the cavity is very deep, since it has already infected the enamel, passed through the dentin layer of the tooth as well, and is now near the pulp. Once the cavity has reached dentin itself, a person will begin to have sensitivity and pain as it proceeds deeper towards the pulp. Any medication at this level, can only be placed by the dentist. What the dentist would do in such situations is, remove any infected dentin in the cavity, as much as possible, and apply the medication and then seal up the tooth with a temporary filling material. And then wait and watch, for a short period of about 3-4 weeks, approximately.

If there is pain during this period, the patient will have to undergo a RCT. Otherwise, it could mean that re-mineralization has occurred. Re-mineralization, in this case, simply means the body tries to regenerate the dentin layer that it has lost. The new dentin formed will act as a protective layer to any future bacterial action. The medication commonly used is a form of calcium hydroxide paste.

The problem of leaving the cavity uncovered, without a filling is that it gives place for more food lodgement, which will only favor more bacterial action. At times, the temporary filling comes off. Since there is no pain (due to the formation of new dentin), we don’t go to the dentist immediately, but wait until the pain starts. By then, the cavity would have progressed deeper than what it was at the beginning.

So if you don’t need root canal treatment, you need a filling (dental restoration) to make sure your tooth is protected from future bacterial action. And most of the newer restorative materials also release fluoride into your tooth, which helps reinforce its anti-bacterial action. Many commonly used brands of toothpaste also have fluoride as an ingredient to help decrease the formation of new cavities in our mouths. Products like Sensitive Pro-Relief used for tooth sensitivity, may provide temporary relief for cavities that are not very deep, until you schedule that appointment with your dentist.

Have questions? Ask here.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

Be the first to start the conversation!

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image