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Root Canals: Do I Need It & How Are They Done?

An endodontic treatment, also commonly known as a root canal, is a pretty serious procedure. However, you can take comfort in knowing it’s one that specialists handle all the time. Before you get any type of work like this done, it’s important to fully understand what the procedure actually is and how it’ll be performed.

This procedure involves the removal of an extremely injured or diseased tooth. A root canal is the best way to relieve the pain of a bad tooth and to make it healthy again without getting a tooth extraction. In addition to relieving you of a bunch of pain, a root canal will help to prevent the nearby teeth from enduring tons of pain or strain.

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How Do I Know If I Need A Root Canal?

Root canals can be needed for a couple reasons. One reason is a tooth injury. Some people genetically get bad teeth, which can be another factor leading to needing a root canal. Finally, a deep cavity or issues from a past filling can lead to needing a root canal. Generally, someone will need this procedure if their teeth are particularly sensitive to hot or cold. Sensitive teeth can also be an indicator that there’s bad bacteria getting into the nerves of your jaw.

It can also a necessary procedure if the pulp (soft tissue in the tooth’s root) becomes inflamed or infected. Pulp inflammation or infection can be caused by deep decay, a crack or chip in the tooth, or repeated dental procedures on a specific tooth. Tooth injury can cause the pulp to be damaged even if there are no visible cracks or chops. If left untreated, people will commonly experience pain or even get an abscess.

How Is A Root Canal Performed?

An endodontic treatment is typically completed in one or two visits. Your oral surgeon will follow these steps to complete the procedure:

  1. The oral surgeon will examine and take what’s known as a radiograph of your tooth with x-rays. You will then be administered local anesthetic.
  2. After your tooth is numb, a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” will be placed over the area to keep the tooth clean and free of saliva throughout the procedure.
  3. An opening will be made in the crown of your tooth and small tools will be used to remove the pulp.
  4. Once a space is cleaned and properly shaped, the root canals will be filled with a material similar to rubber. It will be placed with a special type of cement to ensure your root canals are completely sealed. Typically, a temporary filling will be placed to close the opening and this will be removed before the tooth is restored.
  5. Finally, a crown or some other form of restoration will be placed on your tooth to protect it and to return it to full functionality.

If your tooth lacks the required structure or strength to hold the restoration in place like it’s supposed to, then a post may be placed inside of the tooth itself. For more detailed information, we recommend you talk to your dentist about the exact restoration method he or she plans on using to finish your root canal.

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