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Dental Treatments

Root Canals

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected.

Root canal procedures are performed when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected or the pulp becomes damaged. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

What causes pulpal nerve damage?

The most common causes of pulpal nerve damage are:

  • physical irritation - generally brought on by aggressive tooth decay (cavity) reaching down to the nerve or through deep fillings, which allows harmful bacteria to reach the nerve resulting in infection and decay.
  • trauma - a blow to a tooth or the jaw can cause damage to sensitive nerve tissue within the tooth.

What are the symptoms of pulpal nerve damage?

The following are the most common symptoms of pulpal nerve damage. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • pain in the tooth when biting down
  • tooth pain while chewing
  • oversensitivity of the teeth with hot or cold drinks
  • facial swelling

The symptoms of pulpal nerve damage may resemble other oral health conditions. Consult a dentist, or other oral health specialist, for diagnosis.

Why is root canal therapy necessary?

Without treatment, the infection of the dental pulp will spread to the bone around the tooth, making it not able to hold the tooth in place.

What does the root canal procedure involve?

Treatment begins with the initial removal of the tooth crown, or top, to allow access to the pulpal tissue. Once the affected pulpal tissue is exposed, the affected area is removed. The area surrounding and containing the pulpal tissue is carefully cleaned, enlarged, and shaped to provide a clean, bondable surface for filling with a permanent filler to prohibit any further infection and discomfort. After filling, a crown is fabricated to complete the rescue and restoration of the natural tooth. The procedure is generally spread over several visits to assure the infected pulp and associated bacteria have been adequately drained.