A root canal is standard treatment for teeth whose nerve has been compromised from either trauma or a very deep cavity. Dentists perform this procedure when the infection has reached the tooth's nerve and blood vessels, often causing swelling, pain and inflammation. If this is not treated, the infection can reach your jawbone and potentially cause permanent damage. The root canal procedure removes the infected nerve tissue and ‘seals’ the tooth from further infection. It is completed under local anesthetic and is the treatment of choice to save many teeth.
A root canal is a widely preferred treatment to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be extracted. Some patients believe that having a tooth removed will resolve the tooth problem. But what is often misunderstood is that extracting a tooth has other, potentially long-lasting, complications that can be avoided with root canal treatment. Root canal treatment is highly beneficial and usually lasts a lifetime. On occasion, however, a root-canaled tooth may have to be treated for new infections.
When Should You Undergo Root Canal Therapy?
- When the decay has reached the tooth pulp
- When the tooth has incurred injury or trauma
- When your tooth hurts when exposed to hot and cold foods. It means your tooth is potentially infected or damaged and can be salvaged with root canal therapy.
- When your gums swell near the painful tooth
- When there is an abscess or pimple present on the gums, indicating an infection in the tooth. This can cause an unpleasant taste in your mouth and also emit an unpleasant odor from your mouth.
- When you have suffered an injury which might have damaged the nerves of the tooth. Root canal treatment may be needed when the nerve has become inflamed, causing you pain and sensitivity.
What Is Involved in Root Canal Therapy?
The root canal treatment starts with the numbing of the affected tooth with local anesthesia. An opening is then made on the chewing surface of the tooth and a series of root canal instruments are inserted into the openings. Then, one root and nerve at a time, the infected pulp, bacteria, and nerve tissue are removed. Once the tooth is meticulously cleaned, it will be sealed and a filling will be placed over the access opening. Soon after, a crown is secured over the tooth to protect it from breaking. The crown will provide additional strength to the tooth and restore its normal function.
Regular visits to a dentist and good oral hygiene practices will maintain the life of your root canal treatment.
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