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Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a procedure used to restore and salvage a badly infected or decayed tooth. A root canal procedure becomes imperative when the tooth nerve tissue or the pulp is infected or damaged. A root canal procedure includes the removal of the nerve tissue and pulp, cleaning and disinfecting the inner-most part of the tooth, and finally filling and sealing.

A root canal procedure is generally dreaded because it’s reputed to be quite painful. But, the truth, as reported by most patients, is that the procedure is just about as pain-free as having a filling placed. What is really painful is the tooth with infected nerve tissue and pulp, before dental intervention is sought, and not the actual root canal treatment.

What Is Dental Pulp?

The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area that fills the cavity in the core of the tooth or root canal. The tooth canal contains the tooth’s nerve and the tooth canal runs through the root or “legs” of the tooth.

The root canals extend starting from the tip of the tooth’s root into the pulp chamber, where connective tissues and blood vessel that nourish the tooth are contained.

A tooth’s nerve does not play a primary role in the healthy functioning of the tooth after it has broken through the gum. It only functions as a sensor for detecting variations or extremes in temperature. The regular function of the tooth is not affected by the existence or lack of the nerve.

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Why Remove the Pulp?
A damaged nerve tissue or pulp will quickly decompose and cause a rapid growth of bacteria within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decomposed debris, in turn, can cause an infection or form abscesses towards the end of the tooth roots.

An abscess is a pus-filled sac that forms at the end of a tooth’s root. Apart from causing an abscess, an infected root canal can lead to:

  • Painful facial swelling that may extend to other areas of the neck or head
  • Loss of bone around the tip of the root
  • Drainage issues extending outward from the root.
  • A hole can emerge through the side of the tooth, with drainage into the gums or through the cheek into the skin
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Causes of a Root Canal Problem
Root canal problems are usually due to the inflammation, irritation, and infection of the tooth’s nerve and pulp caused by deep decay, repeated dental treatments on a tooth, cracked or chipped tooth, or trauma to the face

Procedural Expectations for a Root Canal

Root canal treatment requires a few visit to the dentist or endodontist, who follow a step-by-step procedure:

  • X-ray: the first step is to take X-rays to determine the shape of the root canal, the presence of an infection, and the location and extent of decay.
  • Anesthesia: your dentist will use a local anesthesia to numb the affected area.
  • Pulpectomy: an access hole is drilled through the tooth, and the pulp along with decayed nerve tissue and other debris are evacuated.
  • Filling: the exposed roots are thoroughly cleaned, filled and sealed with cement.