Root canals are performed to treat the inside of a tooth when there is an infection or inflammation inside the tooth that reaches the pulp and nerve. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with a root canal treatment.
Symptoms and Diagnosis:
During the dental exam, the dentist will assess the pain. The dentist will check if the pain occurs in response to stimuli, such as hot or cold, sweet or acidic foods and beverages, or impact with another tooth. Also, spontaneous (unprovoked), constant, throbbing pain can typically indicate extensive pulp damage. Infection can travel out of the root tip and into the surrounding jawbone, possibly forming an abscess, and trigger secondary pain. An x-ray will be taken to visualize what’s happening inside the tooth below the gum line.
What is the purpose of a dental root canal?
A root canal is a treatment that repairs and saves a badly damaged or infected tooth. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.
What does a root canal entail?
A root canal treatment is usually an in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia that completely numbs the affected tooth. If the dentist suspects you may need a root canal, he will first take X-rays or examine existing X-rays to show where the decay is located. When a root canal is performed, the infected portions of the tooth, including the pulp, are carefully removed. Tooth pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and other tissue. A local anesthetic is administered to the affected tooth. Next, an opening is made and the diseased tooth pulp is removed. The roots that have been opened (to get rid of the diseased pulp) are filled with gutta-percha material and sealed off with cement.
What should one expect after a root canal?
For the first few days following the completion of a root canal, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This sensitivity or discomfort usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication. Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.
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