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Root canal treatment involves the removal of the nerve from the tooth by drilling a hole in the top surface of the tooth. The inside is cleaned out with disinfectants and needle-like instruments. The root canal is then dried and a rubber filling placed down the inside of the tooth. The mention of "root canal" evokes images of severe pain. In truth, however, root canal treatment is maligned unfairly. Advances in technology, and the experience of our professional staff have made root canal treatment far less painful than its reputation suggests.
Root canal treatment becomes necessary when the pulp inside your tooth gets infected. The pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth, home to connective tissues, blood vessels and nerves. The pulp goes from the crown of your tooth to the tip of the root in your jawbone. Normally, the tooth itself protects the pulp, but if the tooth is damaged by a very deep cavity, or a crack, or trauma from repeated repairs, bacteria can reach the pulp. Then the bacteria grow from the crown towards the root, push accumulates at the root tips, and the mouth becomes painful and sensitive to hot and cold. Not all pulp infections bring pain; sometimes they spread so slowly that the patient feels nothing.
1. First comes the diagnosis. Next comes the root canal itself, in which a dentist removes the pulp (and thereby also the infection), and cleans the inside of the tooth preparatory to filling it, sometimes applying antibiotics to prevent further infection.
2. A temporary filling is placed at the crown opening.
3. Finally, during a subsequent appointment, a crown is installed to seal the tooth and protect it from further damage or infection.
With successful root canal treatment, the tooth will no longer cause pain. However, because it does not contain an internal nerve, it no longer has sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweetness. The restored tooth could last a lifetime; however, with routine wear, the filling or crown may eventually need to be replaced. Excellent oral hygiene after your root canal can help ensure success and prevent reinfection. An untreated infection inside a tooth will only worsen over time; the pulp cannot heal itself.
Required trips, for an average complexity treatment: 1
Required days, for an average complexity treatment: 3
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