Root Canal: The Solution to Nagging Tooth Pain
Root canal treatments have the unfounded reputation of being extremely painful. Actually, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed. A root canal (endodontic therapy) is necessary when the tooth's pulp (nerve and blood vessels) becomes infected thereby requiring it to be cleaned out, the space disinfected, and then sealed to prevent re-infection of the tooth.
A tooth's nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the tooth. The root canal procedure removes decay and infected pulp in the tooth. After properly cleaning and disinfecting the root canal, it is filled with a rubber material called Gutta Percha. Usually a crown is required to restore the tooth after completion of the root canal.
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What Are the Signs That a Root Canal Is Needed?
Sometimes no symptoms are present, however, the signs that you may need a root canal do include:
Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
- Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
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Dental Restoration After a Root Canal
It is extremely important to restore the lost tooth structure with a proper long-term restoration after root canal treatment. If a final restoration is not placed, the tooth structure will either leak and "re-infect" the tooth or fracture badly enough that the tooth will need to be extracted. Final restoration, usually a crown, is placed on the tooth to protect it, prevent it from breaking, and restoring it to full function. In the final analysis, the dreaded root canal is a welcome procedure to a patient who has a painfully infected tooth.
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