Having a root canal has become a common procedure for those patients whose teeth have become badly decayed or has become infected. The procedure has a reputation for being very painful however most patients find it is no more painful than having a filling.
The term "Root Canal" refers to the natural pulp chamber within the center of the tooth. The content of this chamber is soft and it's where the nerves and the blood supply reside.
During the root canal procedure, the tissue within the tooth is removed and the tooth is disinfected. The space is then sealed to complete the task. The nerves are not necessarily important to a tooth's health or function but they do provide the sensory to hot and cold foods. The cleaning procedure removes the decay, infection, or abscess that may have caused the tooth decay. Once the tooth is cleaned your dentist may choose to administer medication directly on the area and then wait a week before sealing the tooth. In this case a temporary filling is placed to keep contaminants out like food or saliva before your next visit to seal the tooth.
In some cases, a tooth that has had a root canal will require further restoration like a reinforcement pin, core buildup and crown. The pin and core buildup strengthens the internal aspect of the tooth. A crown will restore the tooth to its full function and will protect the tooth from breaking.
Your tooth may feel sensitive a few days after the procedure due to tissue inflammation especially if you were experiencing pain from infection or an abscess. Over-the-counter pain medication typically relieves this pain and patients are usually back to work the following day.
This is a highly successful procedure with 95% success rate, and many teeth that have undergone root canal can last a lifetime. Saving your natural tooth is always the very best option; alternative options to root canal can be a bridge, an implant or a removable denture. These alternatives are more expensive and require more treatment time.
To reduce the chance of root canal or any dental complications, follow good oral hygiene practice by brushing twice a day and floss at least once a day, and be sure to schedule regular six month dental visits. For active students and athletes a mouth guard is a common way to prevent injury to your teeth and mouth.