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In a root canal treatment, the dentist completely removes the dental pulp to eliminate infection, relieve pain, and preserve the exterior structure of your tooth. The dentist will properly clean and seal the inside tooth after gently removing the nerve and pulp. A lack of proper treatment may infect the tissue surrounding the tooth, thereby causing the formation of abscesses.
The pulp does not play any vital function in managing the health of the tooth after it emerges out of the gums. The nerve only performs a sensory function, which helps the tooth in experiencing the sensation of hot or cold. In other words, the presence or absence of the nerve does not influence the normal function of your tooth.
You may need to visit your dentist once or twice for the root canal treatment. You may choose a dentist on two factors – their expertise and the difficulty level of the required root canal procedure for your tooth. Remember to choose an experienced and qualified practitioner for your dental root canal treatment.
The treatment begins with an X-ray that the dentist needs to observe the current shape of your root canal. The X-ray helps the dentist in identifying the signs of infection, if any, in the surrounding bone. Next, the dentist numbs the area. Anesthetizing the area ensures that the patient stays relaxed and at ease.
Your dentist will place a sheet of rubber or a rubber dam around the tooth to keep the area dry and free of saliva during the treatment. After that, the dentist will drill a hole into the tooth for removing the pulp, bacteria, nerve, and related debris. Your dentist will use root canal files to complete the cleaning process.
Finally, the dentist will thoroughly disinfect and seal the tooth. Your dentist may fill the interior of your tooth in the next appointment. At this step, your dentist places gutta-percha into the root canal. The filling helps in closing the exterior access hole created at the start of the treatment.
The treatment ends with further tooth restoration. A root canal is normally performed for a tooth having a large filling or an extensive decay or some other weakness. For this reason, the tooth usually requires a crown to protect it and prevent eventual breaking. Also, the restoration helps in completely restoring the natural full function of the tooth.
Your tooth may feel sensitive for the initial few days after the root canal treatment. You may experience natural tissue inflammation caused by prior pain or infection. Your dentist may recommend mild pain medications for controlling the discomfort or sensitivity. However, most patients resume normal activities either the same day or very next day.
The success rate for the root canal treatment is over 95 perceent. However, remember to select an experienced practitioner for root canal treatment to ensure safe and predictable results. Nowadays, advanced dental instruments and techniques are used for creating precise, sustainable tooth restorations with minimal invasion.
A tooth can last a lifetime with a root canal treatment. In the last step of the root canal procedure, a restoration such as a crown is applied, which further enhances the longevity of the tooth.
Sometimes you experience infection and inflammation in the nerve of your tooth because of large fillings, deep decay, or repeated dental procedures. You should practice good oral hygiene by flossing regularly, brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and scheduling regular visits to the dentist. Wearing a mouth guard during sports activities for reducing the risk of trauma originating from a sports-related injury is also recommended.
Dr. Anirudh Patel is a board-certified dentist at Innovative Dental by Dr. A in Philadelphia. A graduate of
Case Western Reserve
University, the University of Maryland (magna cum laude), and the Academy of
Modern Implant Dentistry, Dr. A is a board-certified American Dental Association (ADA) member and a member of Spear
Education and the
Spear Study Club and Phelan Dental Seminars.
He is currently pursuing his general dentistry fellowship and is qualified in all dental specialties, including dental surgery, full mouth rehabilitation, orthodontics, cosmetic and general dentistry. After practicing dentistry for eight years, Dr. A received the findatopdoctor.com award in 2022.