What is a Dental Root Canal?

Root canal therapy is often recommended for teeth that have become inflamed or infected as a result of deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, large fillings or trauma to its root structure.

Once your tooth is numb, an access opening is created and root canal files used to remove pulp and bacteria from within it. Finally, this opening may be sealed using either temporary fillings or typically, crowns.

What is a root canal?

Root canal therapy is a dental process in which dental professionals access the soft center of your tooth (known as its pulp) to remove inflamed or infected tissue before cleaning, disinfecting and filling any space left by this treatment. After completion, a permanent crown will be fitted over your tooth in order to protect it from cracking or breaking apart in future.

Your tooth’s pulp consists of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue that assists your tooth in growing as an infant to adulthood. Furthermore, each adult tooth features two hard layers; an enamel coating on its outer layer and dentin underneath that surface layer.

Root canal therapy becomes necessary when oral bacteria invade the pulp of your tooth and cause infection to the point that inflammation sets in, potentially leading to abscesses or even the loss of teeth altogether. Root canals have proven highly successful at restoring teeth; with regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups your restored tooth can last a lifetime!

Why do I need a root canal?

An infected and inflamed pulp in a tooth may develop for various reasons, including deep cavities that reach into its nerve, multiple dental procedures on one tooth, large fillings, cracks or chips in teeth, sports injuries to the mouth or trauma.

If a tooth has prolonged sensitivity to pressure or is experiencing persistent discomfort for weeks or months without improvement, a root canal could be necessary as damaged roots cannot heal themselves and infection can spread from it into nearby jaw bones, face tissue and even brain tissue.

Your dentist will administer local anesthetic to numb the area before inserting a rubber sheet called a dental dam to protect your tooth from moisture and saliva during treatment. Once they’ve treated the tooth, most of its discomfort should subside quickly.

How is a root canal performed?

Root canal therapy entails various steps. First, an examination and X-ray are performed on the affected tooth, followed by placing a “dental dam” to block saliva and bacteria from reaching it and local anesthetic as necessary to reduce pain during treatment.

After making a small opening in the crown of the tooth to access its pulp, tiny dental instruments are used to extract it using special instruments designed for that task. Once removed, the pulp containing nerves and blood vessels must be disinfected, cleaned and shaped before being filled in with gutta percha rubbery dental material.

Once the canals have been filled, a temporary dental filling will be applied to protect and seal the tooth. Following that step, a crown is then fitted over the reduced-in-size tooth to help it support bite pressure while also improving appearance. Following treatment, routine oral care such as brushing and flossing must continue in order to reduce decay or gum disease development in future.

What happens after a root canal?

Once the effects of sedation or local anesthetic have worn off, you will experience some discomfort and tenderness at or around the treated site. This is normal and can be managed using pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In order to maximize healing capabilities and speed recovery times, smoking and drinking alcohol should be avoided as this will inhibit healing processes in your body.

As part of your treatment, it is necessary to return for follow-up appointments with the dentist so they can evaluate your progress and ensure everything is healing properly. Stay in contact with them, recognizing warning signs like dull ache or persistent discharge and make regular appointments with them if any arise.

At some point, a permanent dental crown should replace your temporary filling in order to restore its appearance and function. Usually this can be accomplished within one appointment; until then, chew on the other side of your mouth while avoiding biting down on treated tooth.

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