A root canal is a very common procedure to eliminate inflammation or infections deep inside the tooth. This treatment can save your natural tooth and prevent more costly tooth replacement procedures.
In the center of your tooth is the root canal space, which contains the pulp tissue. The pulp is the collection of nerves and blood vessels within the tooth that stimulates tooth development when we are young. As we get older, the pulp serves only a sensory purpose. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature, or pain in the tooth and gums.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, your doctor will let you know at the time of the procedure or when a complication becomes evident. A local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort is used. In addition, nitrous oxide is available.
To view a video on root canals, click here.
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