Root canals eliminate bacteria from the infected pulp tissue in your tooth’s root canal, saving your natural tooth and preventing reinfection. Root canal therapy is necessary when the pulp in a tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This can be caused by bacteria, multiple dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth.
Pulp damage may also be caused by trauma, even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. Left untreated, these infections and inflammations can cause pain, and/or lead to an abscess, a swollen area within the tissue containing an accumulation of pus. Some people may not have any signs of pulp damage, but those that do may experience pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums.
Root Canal Procedure
A root canal, or endodontic treatment can often be performed in one or two visits to our office, depending on the source of the problem and the complexity of the tooth. A traditional root canal involves removing the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleaning and shaping the canals inside of the tooth, then filling and sealing the space inside the canal.
After the infection has been removed from the pulp chamber, and the space is cleaned and shaped, we fill the root canals with a biocompatible material. This material is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure the root canals are completely sealed. The filling material creates a barrier so that no cells, fluids, or other matter is able to enter the tooth at the tip of the root.
In some cases, a temporary filling is placed to prevent anything in your mouth from entering the tooth. It is imperative that temporary fillings are replaced by permanent restorations quickly, as they are not meant for long term wear.
A crown is then placed to hold the tooth together, reducing the likelihood of future tooth fracture. Back teeth often need crowns because a great deal of the tooth’s structure can be lost due to decay, making them more susceptible to fracture. Front teeth occasionally need crowns, being restored with a crown on a case-by-case basis.
Oral Health Following a Root Canal
After receiving a root canal, it is important to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and rinse with the antiseptic mouthwash prescribed by our dentist. We will schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure that everything is healing appropriately.
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