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Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is the procedure we use to save a tooth that has been infected or has decayed badly. A root canal procedure is necessary when the nerve and the pulp of the tooth are damaged. Dental pulp is the soft center of the tooth, and contains the nerves, blood vessels, and tissues that provide nourishment to the tooth. Nerves in your teeth are not necessary to maintain oral health; they only provide sensory functions so you can determine temperature of food and beverages. After root canal, you will still be able to bite and chew properly. There is only a health concern with the pulp or nerves when they become damaged and infected. If bacteria begin to multiply in the pulp chamber it can lead to an abscess in the tooth, which is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the tooth’s root and is very painful. Infection inside your tooth can also cause swelling, bone loss, and drainage problems resulting in drainage to your gums.
An infected tooth can cause lots of very painful problems. If you have a severe toothache when you chew, increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, darkening of the tooth, or swollen or tender gums, make an appointment with us so we can check to see if you need root canal therapy. During the treatment, you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth in order to keep you comfortable. Our dentists will drill a small hole into the tooth and remove all of the pulp, bacteria, decayed nerve tissue, and any other debris. The removal is done using very tiny files to scrape the sides of the root canal. The process sounds painful, but your mouth will be numbed. The tooth is then sealed with a special paste in the canal, and a filling to close the exterior hole. Occasionally we will use a dental crown or cap to help with the structure of the tooth depending on the severity of damage. Depending on the level of infection, the sealing process may happen immediately after the canal is cleaned, or at another appointment.
Root canal therapy has a reputation of being very painful, but it is really just the infection itself that causes most of the pain associated with root canals. To minimize your chances of needing a root canal, maintain good oral health and schedule regular check-ups!
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