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Root Canal Treatment

What is a root canal (Endodontics)?

Deep inside each tooth is an area of soft tissue called the pulp, which carries the tooth's nerves and blood supply. Root canals are very small, thin divisions that branch off from the pulp down to the tip of the root. A tooth usually has between one and four root canals.

Why do I feel pain?

Deep decay, deep cavities, deep fractures, or injury due to trauma, allows bacteria to seep in to the pulp and infect it. Once infected, the pulp cannot heal, but instead becomes swollen and inflamed. This leads to a pressure build-up inside the tooth and intense pain. Pain in the tooth is commonly felt when biting down, chewing on it and applying hot or cold foods and drinks.

Why do I need root canal therapy?

Because the tooth will not heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection will spread, bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, and the tooth may fall-out. Pain usually worsens until one is forced to seek emergency dental attention. The only alternative is usually extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift crookedly, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind is likely to require an implant or a bridge, which is more expensive and time intensive than root canal therapy. If you have the choice, it's always best to keep your original teeth.

What is involved in root canal therapy?

First, you will probably be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. The pulp is then exposed, which, along with any infected root canal, is cleaned and reshaped. Medication may be inserted into the area to fight bacteria. Depending on the condition of the tooth, the crown may then be sealed temporarily to guard against recontamination, or the tooth may be left open to drain, or the dentist may go right ahead and fill the canals.

If you're given a temporary filling, usually on the next visit it's removed and the pulp chamber and canal(s) are filled with to prevent recontamination. If the tooth is still weak, a post may be inserted above the canal filling to reinforce the tooth. Once filled, the area is permanently sealed. Finally, a crown or an onlay is normally placed over the tooth to strengthen its structure and improve appearance.

How successful is root canal treatment?

More than 95 percent of root canal treatments are successful. This high success rate is due to our use of state-of-the-art ultrasonic root canal length determination, and nickel-titanium rotary root canal preparation.

How painful is it?

Althought Root canal treatment is relatively painless, sedation may be necessary in rare cases.

What happens after treatment?

Natural tissue inflammation may cause discomfort for a few days, which can be controlled by an over-the-counter analgesic. A follow-up exam can monitor tissue healing. From this point on, brush and floss regularly, avoid chewing hard foods on the treated tooth, and see your dentist regularly.