Megan Johnson McCullough –Anyone who has had a root canal can tell you it’s a dent in the pocket, but also worth the expense to alleviate the pain or sensitivity from a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. A root canal is that final step to save a tooth or else an abscess (inflammation from bacteria) may form. The term “root canal” refers to the cavity of the tooth. The pulp is the area within the root canal that is soft. There is also a nerve involved. During a root canal, both the nerve and pulp get removed, the area get cleaned, and then it gets sealed.
The nerve is not a necessity for your oral health; hence it can be removed. The nerve is there to sense hot or cold. Yet, a tooth can still live and function without this nerve. When a tooth starts to decay, the pulp (tissue) becomes damaged. This bacterium that starts to grow can become infected. The tooth can become abscessed which means a pocket will form at the end of the tooth that is filled with pus. As a result, a person might experience bone loss around the root, swelling in their neck or face, and this pus can drain into the skin.
The pulp becomes irritated when decay has existed for a prolonged period of time. Sometimes years of dental work on that tooth can cause this. Cracks or chips to that tooth can also cause pulp problems. At this point, the dentist or endodontist has no choice but to try to save the tooth once and for all. Sometimes a general dentists will refer a person to a more specialized dentist if they do not feel comfortable performing such a procedure on a highly damaged tooth. They will make this decision after careful examination of x-rays. Anesthesia is used during the procedure sometimes because the nerve isn’t entirely dead yet and sometimes because the person needs to relax. An access hole will be drilled into the tooth. This allows the dentist to remove the nerve and pulp. Root canal files are used to do this which scrap the debris. Once totally cleaned, the tooth is sealed. Sometimes the dentist waits to seal the tooth until the infection goes away with medication. A temporary filling will suffice until you return for the final sealing. Other times, the procedure can be completed in one day, sealed, and ready to go. home. Sometimes the tooth is so decayed that an additional crown is needed to cover and restore the tooth.
Luckily, root canals have a 95% success rate. They have been known to be painful, but the area is certainly sensitive and might be for a few days after the procedure. Oral care is critical and daily attention to your teeth is needed. Don’t deny your sparkly whites the brushing and flossing that they need.
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