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Get the Facts About Root Canal Therapy
Though root canal therapy is one of the most common dental procedures, it is often misconstrued or misunderstood. Information circulating about this frequently used treatment may not always be correct. Education is crucial when it comes to making an informed decision on your oral health. Read on to discover the facts, and fiction, surrounding root canal therapy.
What is root canal therapy?
When the nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth are infected, inflamed or decayed, a dentist will prescribe a root canal to try and save the tooth. The dentist, or an endodontist, will then use a dental drill to gain entry to the interior of the tooth. The pulp, otherwise known as the tissue inside a tooth, is then removed to alleviate pain and clear the infection.
How do root canals work?
Despite what you have heard, root canal therapy is actually meant to alleviate pain from a damaged tooth. Most of the fear surrounding root canals depends on second-hand accounts of a painful procedure. However, this is very often not the case. Local anesthesia is applied to the affected area so the patient will not experience pain during the treatment. After the procedure, the tooth will likely feel better almost instantly.
Going into the procedure, the patient will have been experiencing pain, likely due to an irreversible condition. Pulpitis, broken teeth or a dying nerve can all warrant a root canal. Pulpitis is the infection of the pulp inside the tooth. In advanced cases, jawbone infection arises and an abscess at the base of the tooth root will form.
How long does root canal therapy last?
In most cases, a tooth that has received root canal treatment needs to be restored after the fact. The removal of the pulp cuts off blood flow to the tooth, so over time, the tooth will become brittle.
Since a root canal leaves a hole in the middle of the hollowed tooth, a simple dental filling to seal that opening does not always do the trick. This means the tooth will need further protection, normally in the form of a custom fitted crown. Once the crown has capped the tooth, it is then protected from future damage.
Porcelain crowns, although the most aesthetically pleasing, are not always the best choice to uphold a weakened tooth. For example, metal crowns, especially those made of gold, are very sturdy. Gold crowns have antibacterial properties, enough structural integrity to withstand the ages and the right amount of give so as not to damage surrounding teeth.
If the tooth is not properly restored after a root canal, there is considerable risk of failure. The tooth may be functional and pain-free for a short period of time, but it will likely not be viable in the long run. For this reason, most accounts of root canal failure are actually due to the failure of restoration. If your tooth is fortified by proper restoration in combination with a root canal, you will be enjoying quite a permanent solution. Consult your dentist to find out if root canal therapy is right for you.
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