Root canal treatment

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Root canal treatment is a procedure that removes infection from your tooth nerves. Receiving a root canal treatment eliminates pain, removes the infection, and allows you to keep your tooth. Once your tooth nerve has been infected, it can no longer be saved with a filling or crown. You must perform a root canal procedure to save infected teeth or you have to remove the tooth from your mouth. Performing a root canal treatment allows you to keep your damaged tooth while eliminating pain and infection at the same time.

When do you need a root canal treatment?

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Root canal treatment is performed to save teeth that have an infection. Whenever cavities cause your tooth to become infected, you require a root canal treatment. Dental infections start off when bacteria find a way to penetrate your tooth. If you don’t fix these teeth on time, the bacteria continue to penetrate deeper into your tooth. Eventually, bacteria reach your tooth nerve and your tooth becomes infected. The only way to save these infected teeth is with a root canal treatment. Otherwise, you must remove the tooth from your mouth. Here are a few examples of cases where your tooth requires a root canal treatment:

Infection

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Teeth become infected once cavity bugs enter the tooth nerve. Infected teeth are very sensitive to hot and cold. They cause a lingering, long-lasting, throbbing type of pain. Additionally, infected teeth are a cesspool of harmful bacteria. This harmful bacteria spreads to your other teeth as well as the rest of your body through the bloodstreams. Performing a root canal treatment eliminates this infection and allows you to save your tooth at the same time.

Trauma

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You may also require a root canal treatment when crack or fracture your tooth. If you break your tooth deep enough where the nerve gets damaged, you will need a root canal treatment. Performing a root canal treatment allows your dentist to restore your tooth without causing a toothache.

Elective root canal treatment

There are even instances where your tooth requires an elective root canal procedure. An example of this is when an existing cavity is too close to your tooth nerve. Filing teeth with deep cavities is risky and you may develop an infection or toothache after filling these teeth. An elective root canal treatment would avoid these types of complications. Elective root canal treatments are also commonly performed during full mouth reconstruction. By performing a root canal treatment on high-risk teeth your dentist prevents future infections and complications from occurring.

Root canal treatment for baby teeth

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Root canal treatment for baby teeth is known as pulpotomy. Its purpose is to remove the infection from baby teeth while allowing children to keep their baby teeth. Losing baby teeth can have serious consequences. It affects your child’s speech, confidence, and leads to orthodontic problems. Performing a puplotomy allows your child to keep their infected teeth until the adult teeth erupt. Luckily,  puplotomy is also a much simpler procedure than a root canal treatment for adult teeth. Look for a dentist who specializes in children or a pediatric dentist to learn more about pulpotomies.

Are teeth in need of a root canal always painful?

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It may be true that most root canal infections cause some level of pain and discomfort. However, there are some instances where a root canal infection is not painful at all. This means that you may have an infected tooth but not feel much or any pain from the bad tooth. Nevertheless, all infected teeth must be treated with either a root canal treatment or you must remove the tooth. Leaving an infected tooth in your mouth has some serious consequences. It could harm your other teeth, and the infection can spread to the rest of your body through the bloodstream. Here are some examples of cases where an infected tooth may not be painful but it still requires a root canal treatment:

Long-standing infections

Teeth with chronic infections develop resistance to pain over time. In other words, if you neglect to fix your infected tooth it could eventually stop hurting. Unfortunately, this does not mean that the infection has gone away. An infected tooth never fixes itself and continues to remain infected until treated by your dentist. This is why it’s never a good idea to ignore your infected or painful teeth. You must see a dentist to either receive a root canal treatment or remove these infected teeth from your mouth.

Teeth with clogged nerve canals

It’s not unusual for your teeth to develop clogged nerve canals as you continue to age. Clogged nerve canals make your teeth develop resistance to pain. As a result, you may develop a tooth infection without showing painful symptoms. Teeth with clogged nerve canals are much more common among the elderly population. The same way that your blood vessels clog up, your teeth nerve canals also get clogged. This explains why seniors don’t experience as much pain when they have an infected tooth. Regardless of your age or level of pain, an infected tooth must be treated. You either need a root canal treatment or your must remove the infected tooth from your mouth.

What is a typical root canal procedure like?

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Root canal procedure is much more complex than a simple filling. Removing your tooth nerve, disinfecting the tooth, and filling the canals, is a time-consuming process. Here are the steps involved in a typical root canal procedure:

Removing and disinfecting the tooth nerve

Like most other dental procedures, your root canal treatment starts off by numbing the infected tooth. It usually takes several shots to numb you up. Your dentist may also isolate your tooth, using a device known as a rubber dam, for better access and moisture control. Next, your dentist starts to remove infected tooth tissue. Cleaning out your tooth infection is a gradual process and does take some time. Your dentist also applies disinfectants and other medications to make sure that they have killed all offending bacteria inside your tooth nerves.

Filling the tooth nerves

Once your tooth has been properly disinfected it’s time to fill up the nerve canals. Without filling the nerve canals bacteria can easily recultivate your tooth. Your dentist places a neutral filling, known as Gutta Percha, to fill up your disinfected nerve canals. Gutta Percha seals off bacteria and prevents recurring infections from occurring. Once the Gutta Percha has been applied, your tooth is now sealed off and your root canal treatment is complete. Keep in mind, you still need to follow-up with your dentist to place a filling or crown and restore the tooth.

Is a root canal treatment the best way to fix infected teeth?

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Most dentists agree that it’s best to save your own teeth whenever possible. Teeth with a successful root canal treatment have an excellent long-term prognosis. These teeth usually last for several decades, sometimes even a lifetime. Of course, there are occasions where saving a tooth with a root canal is simply not worth it, for instance:

  • The infection is very extensive and wide-spread
  • If you don’t have enough tooth structure to restore your tooth
  • When there are way too many infected teeth in your mouth
  • When you’re suffering from end-stage periodontal disease
  • If you simply haven’t had much luck with previous root canal treatments or if you’re not a believer in root canals

In these circumstances, it’s best to remove your tooth instead of trying to save it with a root canal treatment. Consider removing your tooth and replacing it with a dental implant instead. Deciding between a root canal or dental implant can oftentimes be tricky. There are many factors you need to take into consideration when deciding between the two. Ultimately, only you and your dentist can decide which treatment option is best for you. Talk to your dentist and do your research to make sure that you’re getting the right treatment for your needs.

Finding a dentist for root canal treatment

If you have an infected tooth, you need to find a local dentist to fix your tooth with a root canal as soon as possible. Note that not all dentists perform their own root canal treatment. Be sure to find one that actually performs his or her own root canals or find a root canal specialist (known as an endodontist). You can use our dentist Search Engine to find a dentist who performs root canal treatments near you. View their profile to learn more about them. Read their reviews, look through their treatment photos, even book your appointment conveniently online. Don’t forget, infected teeth never automatically fix themselves and remain infected until your dentist fixes them. The sooner you rid yourself of infection, the less pain and side-effects you will suffer from.

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Categories: Root Canals

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