Root Canal Therapy and Treatment

When infection or decay affects the pulp, root canal therapy can play a vital role to save the tooth. Your dentist will remove the affected pulp along with nerves and bacteria before sealing the area with a special medicated dental sealant. Over time, your tooth will recover as the decay will stop.

A root canal therapy can save a tooth from being extracted. Although some people believe that extracting a tooth is the solution, it can lead to further problems. These include improper jaw shape and problem for the adjacent teeth. Moreover, extracting a tooth cost more compared to getting a root canal therapy at an early stage.

Root canal treatment has long-lasting results with excellent success rate. It usually lasts a life-time unless new infections make their way to the root again.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy

The following symptoms and signs indicate that you need to undergo a root canal therapy to save your tooth. Schedule a visit with your dentist who will examine the affected tooth and suggest an appropriate therapy.

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Severe toothache pain
  • Swelling and/or tenderness
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present

Reasons for root canal therapy

Your dentist will suggest root canal therapy for one of the following reasons.

  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
  • Infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth

With the help of the latest technology, the root canal procedure often takes only one appointment. However, in more complicated procedure, it might take more than one appointments. Your endodontist will explain the procedure and the number of appointments it might take to complete.

Root Canal Treatment

A root canal procedure usually includes the following steps.

  • An endodontist will place a rubber dam around the tooth. It keeps the saliva away and your tooth stays dry.
  • Once the tooth is secure, your dentist will make an opening on top of the tooth.
  • Using this opening, infected pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria that have accumulated in the area will be removed. Your dentist will use special equipment to complete this procedure.
  • The tooth is sealed with dental sealants to ensure that the infection stays away from the newly treated area. The filling could be temporary or permanent, depending on your individual case.
  • Finally, a crown will be placed on top of the tooth to avoid bone loss and further decay. The crown will restore the tooth to its full function.

Once the procedure is complete, your dentist will schedule an appointment usually a week later. During this appointment, he or she will examine the roots and the cavity to ensure that its healing as intended.

Sometimes, your dentist will not seal the tooth with a sealant on the first appointment. In such cases, sealant is added for temporary or permanent filling at the next appointment.

After treatment, it may take a few days before your tooth feels normal again. It may be sensitive and you will notice some inflammation around the affected area. It will wear off within a few days as your roots heal. Just make sure that you follow your dentist’s instructions carefully.

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