What is a Root Canal?
ROOT CANAL is a "lay persons" term for endodontic therapy or root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is necessary when the nerve inside the tooth becomes irreversibly damaged or infected. This is usually due to the entry of bacteria into the centermost part of the tooth called the dental pulp ("nerve"). Root canal therapy involves the removal of the entire nerve system, as well as cleaning, shaping and filling 3-dimensionally the canal system with gutta-percha and a dental sealer.
Is a Root Canal for you?
Do you have any of the following symptoms?
If you answered yes
to any of the above, you might very well need a root canal.
What is Involved in a Root Canal Procedure?
The endodontist examines the x-ray and the tooth, then administers a local anesthetic. After the tooth is numbed, a Small protective sheet, called a dental-dam is placed to isolate the tooth, A Small opening will be made in the crown of the tooth and Small instruments will be used to clean the canals and to shape the canal spaces for filling. Once the canals have been adequately cleaned and shaped, the canals will then be filled with a rubber-like material called "gutta-percha" and sealer. A temporary filling is then placed to close the opening. Your dentist will remove the temporary filling before the tooth is restored.
Is the Root Canal Procedure Painful?
With modern techniques and anesthetics the procedure is much faster and with less discomfort than there has ever been. A similar anesthetic as the one used by your dentist will be used for the root canal. For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive to the bite. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications in order to control normal post-treatment discomfort.
Will I Feel Anything After Root Canal Treatment?
In most cases the quantity and quality of discomfort will subside dramatically within the first 24-48 hours. Any sensitivity to cold, hot or even breathing air "in" will be gone after your visit. Nevertheless, you may experience mild discomfort that will last for several days after treatment. Taking over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve usually relieves this discomfort. Tylenol has been proven not to be as effective as aspirin, etc., because it does not have the anti-inflammatory component as these other medications. The most common complaint is tenderness to touch, bite, tapping or chewing on the tooth. It is recommended to refrain from any of the above until your dentist permanently restores your tooth.
What are the Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Versus Extraction?
The single most important benefit of root canal therapy is that you keep your tooth. Extraction may lead to other dental problems. For instance, drifting of teeth, bite problems, TMJ discomfort, and the need to treat adjacent teeth that do not otherwise need dental treatment in order to restore the missing tooth. No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are - and they can be very effective - nothing is a good as your natural tooth.
©Copyright 2006- Dental WebSmith, Inc. and Michanowicz Endodontic, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Disclaimer: The information provided within is intended to help you better understand dental conditions and procedures. It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical or dental care. If you have specific questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.