An Overview of Root Canals

An Overview of Root Canals

A root canal is a treatment which is used to repair and save a decayed or infected tooth. This is performed when the pulp composed of nerves and blood vessels in the tooth becomes damaged or infected. In the root canal therapy, the pulp is removed and inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

What Is Dental Pulp?

The pulp is the soft area within the center of the tooth that contains the nerve, blood vessels and connective tissue.

Why Does the Pulp Need to Be Removed?

The damaged pulp breaks down and bacteria begin to accumulate. This leads to infection or abscessed tooth.

What Damages a Tooth’s Pulp in the First Place?

A tooth pulp causes irritation, inflammation and infection due to deep decay and repeated dental procedures.

What Are the Signs That Root Canal Therapy Is Needed?

  • Toothache
  • Prolonged sensitivity
  • Discoloration
  • Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums

The Root Canal Procedure

Root canal therapy requires one or more dental visits.

  • An endodontist takes an X-ray to see the root canals and determine infection.
  • Use local anaesthesia to numb the area.
  • Place a sheet of rubber to keep the area dry and free from saliva.
  • Drill an access hole to remove the bacteria and other debris.
  • Seal the tooth after a thorough cleaning. Dentists wait for a week before sealing.
  • Place a crown to prevent from breaking.

What Should One Expect After Root Canal Therapy?

It is a successful treatment that lasts for a lifetime with proper care and regular dental check-ups.

Complications of Root Canal Therapy

If anything is left undetected, the infection can emerge again. The re-treatment is required which may or may not be successful.

Cost of Root Canal Therapy

The cost varies and depends on the severity of the problem and the tooth which is affected. Dental insurance usually provides the coverage of this procedure.

Alternatives to Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is the best treatment but the alternative is getting a tooth extracted. It would be replaced with bridge, implant or removable partial denture. These treatments are expensive and time-consuming.

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