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Root Canal Therapy

It is always wise to visit a dentist the minute one experiences dental caries or cavities. When left untreated, it causes the infection to spread further within the teeth.

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This causes the hole or cavity to deepen. When the cavity reaches the tooth center, that is tooth pulp, the infection affects the nerves within. This causes the blood vessels, connective tissues as well as the nerves to become infected and inflamed. The tissues become dead or may die due to the bacterial infection. In such a case, to save the affected tooth, dentists suggest root canal therapy.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Medically, this procedure is called as endodontic treatment. The term endodontic is a Greek word, where, ‘endo’ means inside and ‘odontic’ stands for ‘tooth’. Thus, this is a procedure carried out within the tooth.

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It is one of the most common dental procedures performed in the world. This therapy helps in saving the natural tooth without one having the need to go in for dental implants.

An infected tooth or one that has been severely damaged by accident may cause inflammation or infection of the pulp tissue. When left untreated, it aggravates to severe pain and the formation of abscess. If the patient still does not undergo any treatment, the bacteria continue to infect the jaw bone and may enter the bloodstream. In order to stop this infection, the dentist will suggest a root canal therapy, that will also help save the tooth.

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What are the Symptoms that Point Towards the Need of Root Canal Procedure?

A few people never show signs of nerve tissue damage. However, pain, extreme sensitivity to hot or cold food, discoloration of the tooth , tenderness, swelling, pus formation, etc. indicate the need for an endodontic treatment.

Apart from these physical symptoms, the dentist may take an x-ray to observe abscess.

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How is the Root Canal Therapy Performed?

Root canal therapy generally requires one to two visits to complete the procedure. The steps generally involve the following:

1. After observing the X-ray, the dentist will administer local anesthesia. This will help make the tooth numb and the patient will feel little to no pain.

2. Next, a ‘dental dam’ will be placed to isolate the tooth. This ‘dental dam’ is a protective sheet that will prevent saliva from disturbing the tooth during the procedure.

3. The dentist will now make an opening at the crown to clean the infected pulp using a tiny drill. After cleaning, the space will be filled using a biocompatible material called ‘gutta-percha’. However, if one is required to visit again to complete the procedure, the space will be filled using a temporary filling.

4. After completion of the procedure during the final visit, the dentist will place a crown, bridge, implant or similar restoration material over the tooth. This will help make it fully functional without causing any discomfort to the patient.

5. In case the tooth has completely lost its structure, a post may be placed within the tooth to help restore its shape.

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?

The treatment is performed to ease the pain suffered by the patient. The modern techniques available today, have made the procedure almost pain and discomfort free. One may feel tooth sensitivity and discomfort for a few days after the therapy. This is common and a part of the healing procedure.

However, severe pain, discomfort or pressure in and around the tooth is very unlikely. If one is experiencing extreme pain, they should immediately visit their dentist again.

Is Aftercare Necessary?

Yes, aftercare is absolutely necessary for the complete success of the root canal therapy. One should avoid biting or chewing with the treated tooth for a few days. It is important as it may cause the tooth to chip or fracture. Make sure you brush, floss and practice healthy oral hygiene.

Can One Require a Retreatment?

Yes, one may require a retreatment in a few rare cases. Apart from root canal retreatment, one may have to go in for other dental treatments as well. This is because the natural tooth is still susceptible to cavities, infection, decay, broken filling and trauma.

How Long Will Root Canal Treatment Last?

Root canal treatment will last for a lifetime, if one continues to take proper dental care. It is important to keep your teeth healthy and visit a dentist regularly to avoid any kind of decay, cavity or trauma from affecting the teeth.

Severe tooth infection can lead to loss of tooth. In order to save your tooth, root canal therapy is necessary. Visit an experienced endodontist for advise and further treatment. A step in time can help save your tooth and glorious smile.

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Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 07, 2015