Root Canal Therapy
A root canal is a common procedure.
Your dentist will suggest the procedure if infection or decay impact the nerve or pulp of a tooth.
Without this treatment, the tooth will eventually die and require extraction.
But some people feel that extraction (“pulling”) of the tooth is a better solution.
However, that is not generally true because removing one tooth has consequences for the adjacent teeth.
A root canal prevents the need for an extraction.
Additionally, it eliminates the need for an implant or a bridge in place of the extracted tooth.
The bridge or implant provides stability to the remaining teeth.
Several conditions can necessitate the procedure:
- Injury, infection or abscess inside of the tooth
- Tooth decay reaching the pulp
Both conditions occur commonly.
Signs or Symptoms
These symptoms indicate that a root canal may be needed:
- A severe toothache
- An abscess on the gums
- Hot or cold sensitivity
- Swelling of the face or neck
- Sensitivity when chewing
The Root Canal Procedure
Depending upon the specific circumstances, the procedure may require multiple appointments.
Your dentist will use a local anesthetic because the nerve must be deadened.
Then an access opening is created on the top of the tooth.
Finally, your dentist removes the pulp, nerve tissue and bacterial growth within the tooth using special instruments.
The dentist will also remove decay.
The tooth will be cleaned because the cavity will be filled with medicated materials to promote healing.
Typically, any teeth that have a root canal are covered by a crown since that will prevent additional damage and restore full functionality.
After the Procedure
Inflammation causes some sensitivity after the procedure, but that is normal.
However, it will usually subside quickly as the tissue around the affected tooth recovers and returns to normal.
You should maintain an aggressive at-home oral care routine since that ensures good oral health.
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