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Root Canal Treatment
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No one relishes the idea of needing a root canal procedure. However, the treatment may be required to remove inflamed and infected tissue from within a tooth. The good news is that the procedure is highly effective and probably more comfortable than you think.
Root canal treatments help:
- Relieve pain
- Prevent further infection
- Save teeth
The Structure of Teeth
Under the enamel and dentin tooth layers is found a soft tissue known as the dental pulp. It contains blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves. Dental pulp is needed for the development and growth of a tooth, but a full-grown tooth can exist without it by receiving nourishment from nearby soft tissue.
Root canal procedures are needed when this dental pulp has become inflamed or infected. The procedure involves the complete removal and cleaning out of the dental pulp and root canal, which is refilled to prevent additional damage.
Root Canal Procedure Indications
If a patient has significant infection or inflammation within their dental pulp, they may benefit from a root canal treatment. Otherwise, the infection can continue to develop, leading to severe pain or the development of an abscess that can compromise the strength and function of the affected tooth.
Root canal therapy helps in maintaining tooth functionality so that the patient can continue chewing normally with their usual biting force. It preserves the natural cosmetic tooth appearance. Root canal treatment also helps in protecting natural teeth from strain and damage if they must take up the biting force once absorbed by the affected tooth.
Root Canal Procedure
The first part of the process is an examination by your dentist using x-rays and a physical examination. The goal is to visualize the inside of the pulp chamber so that the nature of the problem is clearly understood, leading to a treatment plan that will be effective.
Next, the patient is given a local anesthetic to completely numb the area. A dental dam will be placed over the treatment area so that the tooth is isolated during the procedure.
The dentist will then be drilling down into the tooth to allow access for dental instruments. They will clean out all of the infection or inflamed dental pulp. Next, they will completely clean the leftover space, shaping it so that a filling material can be used to replace the pulp.
The next step is filling the root canal using an inert material like gutta-percha. A special dental cement may be used to completely seal the root canal and guard against the possibility of future infection.
After the filling of the root canal, the patient may receive a temporary filling. In time, a dental crown is normally put on top of the tooth to shield and strengthen it. A temporary filling is used while this permanent dental crown is being created. Finally, the temporary filling is removed and replaced by the permanent dental crown at a subsequent appointment.