Root canals relieve pain from infected, throbbing teeth while preserving the natural aesthetic of your smile.
A tooth consists of three main parts: enamel, or a hard protective shell, dentin, a softer middle layer, and an inner layer of soft tissue called dental pulp. The pulp is made of lymph tissue, nerve tissue and blood vessels. If the pulp is traumatized by a fracture, forceful blow or oral bacteria, the tooth starts to die. Root canal therapy is often necessary at that point to eliminate or prevent infection and tooth loss.
Certain signs and symptoms may indicate the need for root canal therapy. Patients with an infected nerve or disease tooth may experience pain, ranging from minimal to severe, irritation and swelling around the surrounding gum tissue or tooth discoloration. The signs of an infection may also be visible on a radiograph.
Before undergoing root canal therapy, the dentist will anesthetize the effected tooth to prevent pain during the procedure. Next, a drill is used to reach the tooth's canals and pulp chamber. Pin-like files of nickel titanium are use to carefully cleanse the canals and the tip of the root to remove any traces of debris or infection. The tooth is then disinfected and sealed and the canal's access hole is closed with a permanent or temporary filling. The filling prevents infection and pain from recurring.
After the root canal treatment has been completed, the dentist will discuss options for tooth restoration, if needed, which may include dental crowns.
Following root canal therapy, it is normal to experience tenderness around the gums, but pain and discomfort are rare. The tissues surrounding the tooth's root may be inflamed, but most patients experience few negative effects following the procedure. Most are soon relieved to experience a decrease in pain and discomfort caused by the effected tooth's infection or trauma.
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