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Root Canal Treatment

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root canal treatment

Root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth. When one undergoes a root canal, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed

The root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. The term “root canal” comes from the cleaning of the canals inside a tooth’s root. Decades ago, root canal treatments often were painful. With dental advances and local anesthetics, most people have little if any pain during a root canal. In fact, it’s probably more painful living with a decayed tooth. Root canal alternatives include extracting the damaged tooth, no further treatment, or replacing the tooth with a dental implant, bridge, or removable partial denture.

A root canal (also known as an endodontic treatment) is a serious procedure, but one that specialists handle every day. Before engaging in any type of dental work, it’s important to know the facts about root canals.

A modern root canal treatment is nothing like those old sayings! It’s very similar to a routine filling and can usually be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. Getting a root canal is relatively painless and extremely effective. You’ll be back to smiling, biting, and chewing with ease in no time.

 
 

When is a root canal needed?

Root canal therapy is necessary when oral bacteria invade the pulp inside of your tooth. This usually happens when a cavity is left untreated for a long time. It can also occur if your tooth becomes cracked or damaged due to trauma.

What are some symptoms that indicate you may need root canal treatment?

In some cases, you may not know you have an infected tooth. However, many people notice certain symptoms. Signs you need a root canal include:

  • Tooth pain that doesn’t go away: Many dental problems can cause tooth pain. If you have pain deep in your tooth, you may need root canal therapy. Discomfort may also radiate to your jaw, face or other teeth.
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold: If your tooth hurts when you drink hot coffee or eat ice cream, it could mean that you need root canal treatment. This is especially true if the pain lingers for more than a few seconds.
  • Swollen gums: When a tooth is infected, pus can collect in the area. This can lead to puffy, swollen or tender gums.
  • Pimple on the gums: You may develop a pimple or boil on the gums. Pus from the infected tooth may drain from the pimple, causing an unpleasant taste or smell.
  • Swollen jaw: Sometimes pus doesn’t drain from the site. As a result, your jaw may become visibly swollen.
  • Tooth discoloration: When the pulp of a tooth becomes infected, it can cause your tooth to look darker. This occurs because of poor blood supply to the tooth.
  • Pain when pressure is applied: If you have pain when you eat or touch your tooth, it could mean the nerves around the pulp are damaged.
  • A chipped or cracked tooth: If you’ve cracked a tooth in an accident when playing sports or even by biting down on something hard, bacteria can reach all the way into the tooth pulp.
  • Loose tooth: An infected tooth may feel looser. This is because the pus from the infected pulp can soften the bone that supports the tooth.

What happens during the root canal process?

Before beginning your root canal, your healthcare provider will take dental X- rays of the affected tooth. This helps determine the extent of damage and ensures that root canal therapy is the appropriate treatment option. Here are the steps that will be completed during your root canal procedure:

  1. Anesthesia. First, local anesthesia is given to numb the infected tooth and the surrounding gums. There is also a medication used in dentistry. to help you relax, such as nitrous oxide, oral sedatives, or intravenous (IV) sedation. Your healthcare provider may recommend sedation if you struggle with dental anxiety.
  2. Dental dam placement. Before beginning root canal treatment, a small rubber dam is placed over the area. This isolates the tooth and keeps it dry during the procedure.
  3. Access hole. Next, a small opening is made in the crown of the tooth to access the pulp.
  4. Pulp removal. Tiny dental instruments are used to remove the nerves, blood vessels, and tissues inside the tooth.
  5. Shaping the canals. Once the pulp is removed, the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned, disinfected, and shaped.
  6. Filling the canals. The empty canals are then filled with a flexible, rubbery dental material called gutta-percha.
  7. Sealing the tooth. Next, a temporary dental filling is placed to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from re-entering.
  8. Placing the final restoration. In most cases, you’ll need a dental crown to protect the treated tooth and restore your bite. Crowns are custom-made, and fabrication usually takes two to three weeks. When your crown is ready, the temporary filling is removed and the permanent crown is placed. In some instances, you may be able to receive a crown during the same appointment.

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

  • Efficient chewing
  • Normal biting force and sensation
  • Natural appearance
  • Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain

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