An Introduction To Root Canals
If you have been having dental problems, then your dentist might have recommended a root canal. If you aren't sure exactly what a root canal entails, then you might be a bit apprehensive. However, you don't have anything to worry about, since a root canal is a quick and effective procedure that will greatly improve your quality of life.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is the extraction of infected dental pulp from a tooth. The pulp is the meat of your tooth and protects the sensitive nerves that lie in the root of your tooth. When an infection gets past the enamel and into the pulp, then it's only a matter of time until the infection reaches the nerve and causes a huge amount of pain. Therefore, a root canal is used to remove that infection and all of the affected tissue before your entire tooth is compromised. This does remove a large portion of the tooth, but it is much better than needing to have the tooth entirely removed and replaced.
What preparation is involved?
Preparation is fairly simply and won't require much effort on your part. You want to make sure that your teeth are clean, but your dentist will do the majority of the work, locating the infection and administering anesthesia. You will likely be given local anesthesia via needle, since the root of the tooth is too deep for topical anesthestic to reach.
This anesthesia should last for a few hours after the procedure, and should leave you feeling a little sore, but you shouldn't have any sharp pain after the root canal.
How does the procedure work?
The actual procedure is pretty simple. Your dentist will surgically remove the sections of your tooth that are infected, leaving the rest of the tooth intact. This can involve removing a very small portion of your tooth or a much larger portion, with the extent of the process playing a large role in determining whether you need a filling or a crown.
What happens after the root canal?
Once the tooth has been cleansed of the infected tissue, your dentist will need to determine whether you should get a filling or a crown. Most root canals remove a significant portion of the tooth, which means that a crown is necessary for restoring the tooth. A filling is acceptable in cases where only a tiny portion of the tooth was removed, but that isn't too common.
If you are getting a filling, then the procedure can be performed very quickly. A crown is a bit more complicated, since your dentist will need to have the crown made at a separate facility, which can ultimately take several months. In the meantime, you will usually be given a temporary crown, which might not be too comfortable, but it will get the job done and keep your tooth safe from further infection.
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