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A Family Dentist Explains a Root Canal Treatment
When a family dentist has recommended a root canal, patients may be wondering what the procedure is all about. A root canal treatment is usually the last resort if a tooth cannot be saved with a regular dental filling. It is typically recommended in cases of severe tooth decay or infection as an alternative to tooth extraction.
Who needs a root canal treatment?
Dentists can detect tooth decay in its early stages if the patient visits the dental office regularly for checkups. However, if the patient delays treatment and the infection spreads through the tooth, the patient may need to undergo a root canal. This treatment can also be used to repair a broken or cracked tooth. Signs of decay or infection include:
- Swollen gums
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
- Constant pain
- Discomfort when eating
What to expect during a root canal treatment
Before starting, the dentist will administer medication to minimize pain throughout the procedure. The dentist will start the procedure by making a tiny hole on the tooth to access the infected area of the tooth. They will remove the dental pulp and sometimes the roots if necessary. The tooth roots contain nerves to feel sensations (such as hot or cold).
The roots are required for tooth eruption, and after complete emergence, removing the root poses no imminent danger to the tooth. If the tooth is infected, the root can encourage further spread of infection, so the root may also be removed. After removing the infected dental pulp, the dentist will clean the area thoroughly to completely remove infecting bacteria. They may also prescribe antibiotics to ensure the complete elimination of any lingering infection.
To close the root canal, the dentist will seal the space where the dental pulp was using a rubber-like material that helps to stabilize the tooth since the pulp is gone. The dentist will then use a filling or crown to strengthen and protect the damaged tooth. The new filling or crown will be customized to match the remaining teeth, meaning it will be hard to distinguish the treated teeth from healthy teeth. After the procedure, the affected tooth will be free of infection, but it may no longer feel sensations since the nerves have been removed.
After the procedure
The patient’s teeth may feel sore and more sensitive after the procedure. It is advisable to stick to a diet of soft food until healing is complete. After the dentist places the filling or crown, then patients can return to their usual meals. Painkillers may help with the pain. If the pain continues after a few days, another visit to the dentist may be necessary.
If you suspect that you have a tooth infection or are experiencing severe pain and other symptoms, do not hesitate to contact a family dentist for an appointment. The dentist can examine your condition and make the necessary recommendation. A root canal is highly effective for saving a damaged or infected tooth from extraction.
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