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Root Canal
Root Canal

Root Canal

This is procedure dentists use to extract the pulp – the soft centre of the tooth. The tooth needs the pulp to grow as it contains blood vessels, connective tissues and nerves.

A root canal is done in most cases by an endodontist or general dentist after putting the patient under local anaesthesia.

This article aims to tell you about this dental procedure and the associated risks.

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When do you need a root canal?

An inflammation, infection or injury on the pulp will require it to be removed via a root canal treatment.

Note that a tooth pulp may be dead yet the tooth crown (part of teeth above the gums) won’t look disturbed. An effective method of keeping the tooth structure intact is by extracting a defective pulp.

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Root Canal Treatment

How can a pulp get damaged?

In different common ways, a tooth pulp can be hurt. They include:

  • Severe decay from a cavity that has not been treated
  • More than one dental work performed on a single tooth
  • Chipped or cracked tooth
  • A tooth injury (this could happen from a mouth impact). The tooth may not crack from the injury, yet the pulp can be damaged

How do you know a damaged pulp?

The common symptoms are tooth pain, swelling, and a burning sensation in the gums.

A physical examination of the damaged tooth will be done. In addition, the dentist will perform an x-ray to confirm the damage. Should your case require a root canal, you may be referred to an endodontist.

What does the procedure involve?

This treatment is performed in the office of your dentist. When you reach your dentist’s, you will be taken to a treatment room by a technician. You will be asked to sit on a chair and place a bib around your neck to keep stains away.

The procedure begins in the following steps:

  • Local anaesthetic: The dentist will apply a little numbing medication on the gum close to the impacted tooth. As it kicks in, the dentist will inject a local anaesthetic into your gums. As they do this, you may experience a sharp pinch that’ll disappear immediately. The anaesthetic won’t knock you out, but you’ll feel no pain.
  • Pulp extraction: Working on the numbed tooth, the specialist will incise the top of the tooth crown. As the pulp comes is exposed, the endodontist will use their files toextricate the pulp gently. Again, the dentist will, in a careful manner, clean out every canal in the tooth.
  • Antibiotics: After extracting the damaged pulp, your dentist will apply topical antibiotics to the area to ensure the infection is treated and avoid reinfection. When the canals have been cleaned and disinfected, the tooth will be filled and sealed with a sealer paste and gutta-percha. You’ll also get dentist-prescribed antibiotics for later use.
  • Non-permanent filling: The treatment ends with the dentist covering the opening in the crown with a soft temporary material. It is this sealant that keeps the canals safe from saliva damage

Root canal aftercare

Your dentist may recommend over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen to treat soreness of teeth and gums and swelling after the numbness has faded. Where pain is severe or persistent, contact your dentist.

You may get back to normal activities the same day after treatment. Don’t chew anything until the temporary filling has been replaced with a permanent one.

After treatment with dental X-rays, follow-up visits will ensue to ensure the infection has disappeared and replace the temporary filling.

Depending on what you want, restoration like crowns may be used to cover the tooth.

Several weeks may pass while you recover; this is normal.

Risks

  • Tooth loss due to weak enamel or severe damage
  • Tooth abscess where antibiotics don’t work well or where the leftover infected material remains

If you are not sure of a root canal, ask your dentist for an extraction. The removed tooth will be replaced with an implant, bridge or partial denture.

After treatment

A root canal can help people regain the use of their teeth. Many patients have long-lasting positive results after treatment.  Personal dental care determines how long your result will last. So, take care of your restored tooth.