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Root Canal

A root canal? Oh my.

PatientOften anticipated with dread, a root canal is a procedure that can help to save a badly damaged tooth. The term root canal refers to the inner portion of your tooth, the natural pocket that contains your tooth’s nerve and the pulp that surrounds it. When your tooth’s root becomes irritated, inflamed, or infected, you experience root canal pain. Root canal damage is typically caused by:

  • An infected tooth caused by decay or deep cavities
  • A cracked, chipped or broken tooth
  • Trauma to your face

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What’s the procedure?

A root canal treatment is made up of a series of steps that, depending on your situation, may be completed in one dental visit or several.

  1. Step one is to open up the inner portion of your tooth. A local anesthetic will be applied to lessen the pain of this step.
  2. Step two is called a pulpectomy. In this step, the diseased pulp is removed, then the inner chamber is cleaned and shaped to prepare it for a filling.
  3. Next, a rubbery material called gutta-percha is inserted and sealed into place. If the tooth requires additional support, a metal or plastic rod may be placed in the canal to strengthen it.If your root canal will take more than one visit, a temporary filling is placed protect the tooth between visits.
  4. The final step may consist of a crown placed over the tooth to restore its shape and appearance.

Root Canal Diagram

Does a root canal hurt?

When faced with the prospect of a root canal, many people react with fear, but, today, this fear is misplaced. The truth is, with modern anesthetics, a root canal should cause no more discomfort than a dental filling.

There’s good reason to not run away from a root canal. Avoiding a root canal can cost you more problems down the road.

  • Unresolved bacteria and decay may cause an infection or an abscess
  • Swelling can spread to your face, neck, or head
  • The bone around the damaged tooth can deteriorate
  • As the infection grows, it needs a place to go and can begin to drain outward into your gums or the skin of your cheek

Save your tooth and relieve the pain

Root canal treatment can help to alleviate the pain created by inflamed or infected pulp in your tooth’s root. Better yet, it can help you save your infected tooth. Keeping as many natural teeth as possible over the course of your life is a good way to protect your oral health.