Explaining a Root Canal
A dental procedure to remove the soft center of the tooth which is the pulp is known as a root canal. The pulp is home to the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that help to nourish the tooth.
In most cases, a dentist or an endodontics specialist will perform the procedure under local anesthesia. This procedure has acquired a scary reputation but it is quite common and therefore it is suggested that you learn about it if you have been recommended one.
What Are the Causes Necessitating a Root Canal?
This treatment is provided when the soft inner part of your tooth which is the pulp becomes inflamed, infected, or injured. The visible part of the tooth which is above your gum line will be intact even when the pulp inside is dead. To preserve the structure of the tooth it is suggested that the injured or infected pulp be removed.
Common causes necessitating this treatment include the following:
Untreated cavities causing deep decay.
Same tooth undergoing multiple dental procedures or developing chips or cracks.
Injuries to the tooth that may have damaged the pulp without cracking the tooth.
Common symptoms of the damaged pulp include pain in the tooth and swelling and sensation of heat in your gums. The painful tooth will be examined by your dentist to confirm the diagnosis with x-rays. You may also be referred to a specialist in endodontics to perform the treatment if it is determined as the best option.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of the Procedure?
The treatment will be provided by the dental professional in an effort to save your tooth. However, in some cases the damage is extensive or the enamel is too frail to undergo the procedure. Loss of teeth is a common result of these factors.
Are There Any Risks of Infections after the Procedure?
The risk of developing an abscess at the root of the tooth continues to remain if some infected material is not cleaned or the antibiotics provided are not effective. However, the specialist performing the procedure usually ensures the injured of the tooth is cleaned thoroughly before it is sealed.
What Is the Alternative for This Procedure?
If you are apprehensive about undergoing this restorative procedure you can discuss with your dentist about an extraction. It is the only alternative but will require placing a dental implant, bridge, or denture to replace the extracted tooth. You may consider this option if you are prepared to undergo further intensive dental work to replace missing teeth.
Performing Root Canal Therapy
The treatment will be performed in a dental office and when you arrive for your appointment you will be escorted to the treatment room by a technician.
The endodontics specialist performing the treatment will place some numbing medication on your gum close to the affected tooth before a local anesthetic will be injected into your gums. You will be awake during the procedure but will feel no pain because of the local anesthetic.
When the anesthetic has taken hold the professional will create a small access hole on the top of the tooth to expose the damaged pulp. The pulp will be removed carefully by the specialist by using small files and also clean out all the pathways in your tooth.
After the pulp has been removed the area will be coated by a topical antibiotic by your dentist to ensure any complication does not occur. The dentist will fill and seal the tooth after the canals are cleaned and disinfected. You will also be prescribed oral antibiotics to prevent any infections.
The procedure will be completed by filling the access hole at the top of the tooth with a temporary sealing material. The sealant helps to prevent the canals from damage by saliva.
What Happens After the Treatment?
As the anesthesia begins to wear off you will feel soreness in your gums and tooth along with some swelling. Over-the-counter pain medications will be suggested by most dentists to deal with this problem which should last for a few days. However, if you are suffering from extreme pain you can contact the dentist for advice.
People that undergo this treatment are able to enjoy positive results from the therapy throughout their lives. However, the results will depend on how you take care of your teeth and therefore you must understand that practicing good oral hygiene habits for all your teeth including the one restored is essential and cannot be avoided.
Will the Tooth Have Its Functionality Restored?
It may take you some time to get accustomed to how the tooth feels after the procedure which is normal and is not a cause for concern. You can also request your dentist to place a crown on the tooth for added strength and functionality. These are simply artificial teeth that can be made from porcelain or gold and have a realistic appearance. The choice of the restoration is entirely up to you.