Root canals

A root canal is a dental procedure performed to treat and save a severely damaged or infected tooth. It involves removing the pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp can become infected or inflamed due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth.

The root canal procedure is typically carried out in the following steps:

  1. Examination and Diagnosis: The dentist will examine your tooth, review X-rays, and perform tests to determine if a root canal is necessary. Symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal include persistent tooth pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, swelling, or a recurring abscess.

  2. Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area around the affected tooth, ensuring that you remain comfortable throughout the procedure.

  3. Access and Removal: The dentist creates a small opening in the tooth, gaining access to the pulp chamber and root canals. Using specialized instruments, the infected or inflamed pulp is carefully removed from the tooth and canals.

  4. Cleaning and Disinfection: The dentist cleans and disinfects the inside of the tooth and root canals, removing any remaining debris or bacteria. This helps prevent further infection and promotes healing.

  5. Filling and Sealing: After the canals are thoroughly cleaned, they are filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. The canals are then sealed with a dental adhesive to prevent recontamination.

  6. Restoration: In most cases, a tooth that has undergone a root canal will require a dental crown or filling to provide strength, protection, and restore its appearance. The dentist will discuss the appropriate restoration option for your specific situation.

Root canal treatment is typically performed by a dentist or an endodontist, a specialist in treating the pulp and root canals. With modern techniques and anesthetics, the procedure is usually no more uncomfortable than getting a dental filling. Afterward, you may experience mild soreness or sensitivity, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.

By saving an infected or damaged tooth through a root canal, you can maintain your natural smile, continue to bite and chew comfortably, and prevent the need for extraction and tooth replacement options like dental implants or bridges.

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