How can a root canal save my tooth?

December 4, 2013

If you get a root canal done in a timely manner, it can save a tooth that would otherwise have to be pulled out. That’ll cost less than a dental implant!

Are you waking up at night because of a toothache? Does drinking a hot or cold liquid cause pain? Does it hurt to chew, making your meals less enjoyable? The culprit could very well be a tooth with an infected nerve or an injured tooth or even a deep cavity. In some cases, an abscess may also form when the infection spreads from the tooth to the bone.

How can a root canal save my tooth?

What does a root canal fix?

Several situations can be solved with a root canal:

  • a deep cavity that reaches the pulp, where the nerve is located
  • a recent or an old injury to a tooth
  • a cracked or broken tooth

What is a root canal?

Also called endodontic treatment, a root canal can be performed by a general dentist or an endodontist, who is a dental surgeon specializing in the treatment of the pulp and the nerves of teeth.

Here are the main steps of a root canal:

  • a local anesthetic is given
  • a dam is placed around the tooth to prevent salivary contamination
  • a small opening is made in the tooth in order to access the canals and the damaged pulp
  • the pulp is removed, the pulp chamber is cleaned, and the canals enlarged
  • the canals are filled and sealed
  • a temporary filling is placed in the opening to protect the tooth between visits, when more than one visit is needed
  • if needed, a crown is placed over the tooth to give it a natural appearance
  • when a tooth has deteriorated, an endodontic post (a small metal rod) is inserted into the tooth to serve as a base for the crown

How long does the procedure last?

These days, a root canal procedure can last from one to two hours. The number of visits depends on the condition of the tooth. If there is a serious infection, the dentist or endodontist may need to place medication in the pulp chamber to disinfect the tooth’s interior before finishing the root canal a few days later.

No more suffering

When suffering from nagging pain, consult your dentist as soon as possible to see if you are in need of a root canal. Getting rid of the pain is worth the procedure all alone, but the bonus is that you’ll be able to keep your natural tooth rather than having it pulled and replaced.

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