Dentist: When is a root treatment really necessary?

Proper tooth hygiene protects against tooth decay
Careful tooth hygiene is the best protection against tooth decay, periodontal disease and other dental diseases. Because plaque is removed as completely as possible by regular brushing and the use of dental floss, this helps to keep teeth and gums healthy. Who does not take it with the mouth hygiene so accurately, however, risks unpleasant consequences. The same applies if you do not regularly go to the dentist and check your teeth for changes.

If the tooth mark has become very inflamed, root treatment is often the only alternative to the tooth.(Photo: Kzenon / If the tooth mark has become very inflamed, root treatment is often the only alternative to the tooth.(Image: Kzenon /

Bacteria can get into the tooth cavity
If the caries-releasing bacteria( plaque) are not regularly removed, they can destroy the tooth substance and thereby penetrate the tooth cavity. Here they can spread and lead to severe damage to the toothpulp filling the inner part of the tooth. The pulp - also known as a "tooth mark" or "tooth nerve" - ​​consists of sensitive connective tissue, nerve fibers, blood and lymph vessels. It extends from the crown to the tip of the root, where the vessels and nerves emerge and flow into the jawbone.

Typical are severe pain and increased sensitivity
When bacteria enter the pulp, inflammation occurs."It is noticeable by acute and usually pungent pain," explains Dietmar Oesterreich, vice president of the Federal Chamber of Dentists in Berlin, against "dpa".In addition to the severe toothache, it can lead to hot and cold sensations, biting and strong pressure sensitivity. If the inflammation is already more advanced, it can pass to the jaw bone and the surrounding tissue. An abscess develops, which can be seen from the outside as facial swelling or "thick cheek".

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tooth threatening to die off
If not treated at the latest, the germs can spread over the blood circulation in the body. In the worst case, they can even migrate to the heart or enter the brain and lead to serious illnesses, warns the Kassenzahnärztliche Bundesvereinigung( KZBV).In addition, the tooth mark can die out as a result of the inflammation and a "dead tooth" may remain.

Elaborate intervention by curved root canals
Through a root treatment, however, such evil consequences can be prevented and the natural tooth preserved. At the beginning of the procedure the anesthesia is performed, "the dentist drills a hole in the tooth and locates the main canals of the individual root," says the dentist Joachim Hoffmann, chairman of the proDente initiative in Cologne. Using tiny instruments, the painfully inflamed or dead tissue is then removed in the affected root canal. A sometimes complicated matter, because the channels can be strongly curved, Hoffmann emphasizes.

Often, several treatment steps are necessary
The cavities are then cleaned and disinfected in order to free them from possible germs, according to the information provided by the KZBV.The filling of the root canals then takes place, whereby several treatment steps may be necessary under certain circumstances. If a bacterial infection is present, a medicinal insert is usually introduced into the root canal. If the root canals are free of bacteria, they can then be sealed with a special mass. After the root treatment the tooth should be provided with a crown or partial crown for better protection.

Regular controls are important
Important is after the procedure a regular check by the doctor. The bone is examined for possible inflammation by radiographs."In principle, there is no success guarantee in a root treatment," stresses Hoffmann. The dentist can not cover all risk factors, e.g. Damage to the tooth. Therefore, the patient should be informed in advance of possible complications.

"After a root treatment, more than 90 percent of the treated teeth can still be functional in the oral cavity after ten years," explains Christian Gernhardt in conversation with the news agency. Gernhardt is President of the German Society for Endodontology and Dental Traumatology( DGET) in Leipzig. Alternatively, it is possible to pull the affected tooth - but this may mean high costs for a tooth replacement.

Health insurance companies do not always pay the costs
Whether the costs for the root treatment are covered by the statutory health insurance depends on various factors. If the front teeth as well as small cheeks are treated, the cash registers normally assume the costs. On the other hand, it looks different in the case of large cheek teeth: "The statutory health insurance funds usually pay a root treatment if the tooth can actually be obtained," says Oesterreich.

Patients should be informed of the costs in writing before their surgery. However, these can not always be exactly calculated. For example,a root canal is more branched than previously assumed, the treatment can become more complex and may cost several hundred euros per tooth.

Sports injuries or tooth crunches can also cause inflammation
In addition to tooth decay, mechanical triggering such as a blow to the tooth during sports or tooth grinding can cause inflammation of the tooth. Other possible causes include worsened wisdom teeth or insufficiently treated periodontal disease. In order to avoid a complex root treatment, therefore, e.g.use a mouthguard for risky fighting sports. In general, it is of course important to pay attention to the correct dental hygiene and to have his teeth regularly checked by the dentist for caries.(nr)

Root can be the last chance for tooth decontamination
In most cases, caries is responsible when the tooth root is to be treated. For when the destructive bacteria have paved the way to the teeth, the inflammation of the tooth nerve threatens. So that the nerve does not die or the inflammation spreads to the surrounding tooth holding apparatus, a root treatment is usually performed. In talks with the "dpa" experts explain how this is carried out and what prospects of success exist.

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