Effective Root Canal Therapy!
Root Canal Therapy deals with diseases of the tooth's pulp, which is located in the center of the tooth and in the canals within each tooth root. Pulp, consisting of connective tissue, nerves & blood vessels, nourishes the tooth when it first erupts. Once the tooth matures, the pulp can be removed safely from the pulp chamber and canals and the tooth can be maintained. This is because the tooth also is nourished by a blood supply that surrounds the tooth. Removing the pulp is called endodontic treatment, but it is often referred to as root canal treatment or root canal therapy. They save an estimated 24 million teeth each year in the U.S.
Why Would You Need Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is needed for two main reasons: infection or irreversible damage to the pulp. An untreated cavity is a common cause of pulp infection. The decay erodes the enamel and dentin of the tooth until it opens into the root canal system, allowing bacteria to infect the pulp. Infections inside teeth don't respond to antibiotic treatment. The inflammation caused by the infection restricts the tooth's blood supply, so antibiotics in the bloodstream can't reach the infection very well. The reduced blood supply also limits the pulp's ability to heal itself.
The pulp can also become damaged from trauma, a fracture or extensive restorative work, such as several fillings placed over a period of time. Sometimes, a common dental procedure can cause the pulp to become inflamed. For example, preparing a tooth for a crown sometimes leads to the need for root canal treatment.
In many cases, when the pulp is inflamed, but not infected, it will heal and return to normal. Your dentist may want to monitor the tooth to see if this happens before doing root canal treatment. Sometimes, though, the pulp remains inflamed, which can cause pain and may lead to infection.
Once the pulp becomes infected, the infection can affect the bone around the tooth, causing an abscess to form. The goal of root canal treatment is to save the tooth by removing the infected or damaged pulp, treating any infection, and filling the empty canals with an inert material. If root canal treatment is not done, the tooth may have to be extracted.
It is better to keep your natural teeth if at all possible. If a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth can drift out of line and can be overstressed. Keeping your natural teeth also helps you to avoid more expensive and extensive treatments. If an infected or injured tooth that needs root canal treatment is ignored, not only can you lose the tooth, but the infection can also spread to other parts of your body.
Having endodontic treatment on a tooth does not mean that you'll need to have it pulled out in a few years. The reason for doing root canal treatment is often a large cavity. The tooth is often weakened, but if the tooth is covered with a crown after the root canal or, in some cases, restored with tooth-colored composite filling material, the tooth can last the rest of your life.
Length of Treatment
Root canal treatment can be done in one or more visits, depending on the situation. An infected tooth will need several appointments to make sure that the infection is eliminated. Some teeth may be more difficult to treat because of the position of the tooth. They have curved root canals that are difficult to locate, or for other reasons. An uncomplicated root canal treatment often can be completed in one visit. Once the root canal treatment is finished, you will need to see your general dentist to have the tooth restored with a crown or filling.
After Root Canal Treatment
Your tooth may be sore for two to three days after the procedure, and your dentist will tell you to avoid chewing on the affected side. This depends on the severity of the infection and inflammation prior to root canal treatment. PAIN OR LACK OF IT. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers to ease the discomfort.
Pain, or the Lack of It
In most cases, you will not experience any pain during the root canal procedure. Your dentist will completely numb your tooth and the surrounding area. If this doesn't seem to be working, alert your dentist right away. Some people fear the anesthetic injections more than the procedure itself, but numbing gels and modern injection systems have made injections virtually painless. Let your dentist know immediately and he or she can modify the technique to avoid repeating the pain.
In addition to anesthetic, you may request sedation, such as nitrous oxide.
What to expect, when root canal treatment is needed:
- On the first visit:
- Local anesthetic is given.
- The affected tooth is isolated with a rubber dam.
- An opening is made through the crown of the tooth, the pulp is removed, the root is cleaned and shaped. Medication may be added to eliminate bacteria.
- A temporary filling is placed in the opening to keep the tooth sterile.
- On the next visit:
- The temporary filling is removed.
- The root canal is filled and permanently sealed.
- The final visit involves preparing the tooth for a crown, to prevent fractures and ensure longevity.
A restored tooth can remain healthy as long as its roots are nourished by the surrounding tissue. Good oral health at home and regular dental visits can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. If you take good care of it, the restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Best dentist ever! Calls patients back personally, very compassionate. I would refer him to anyone afraid of dentists.
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