A root canal is a dental treatment to remove damaged tissue, decay and debris from the interior of tooth using special tools and techniques. This procedure treats the pulpy interior of the tooth, which extends through the root of the tooth. Once the removal is complete a crown may be installed to provide additional strength and protection to the tooth as a root canal removes the central portion of the tooth which can weaken the tooth.
Despite their reputation for being invasive and painful, with modern technologies and pain management techniques you can expect a comfortable experience throughout the procedure. A root canal is similar to a filling for a cavity and is typically completed over one or two visits to the dentist, depending on the condition of the tooth. When the procedure starts, the tooth and surrounding area will be numbed with a local anesthetic. The dentist will use special instruments designed specifically for root canal treatment to remove the decayed interior of the tooth, and any damaged tissue will be cleared away. After the decay removal step, the canal itself is sealed to prevent anything from entering and potentially damaging the lower portion of the root. A filling will be carefully applied and shaped to protect the tooth. Finally, a temporary covering will be placed over the treated tooth until a permanent crown is ready for installation. When the crown has been created, it will be adhered using a very strong bonding agent to further strengthen and protect the tooth. There may be some minor discomfort following the procedure, but it should be minimal and treatable with over the counter pain killers.
There may be some minor discomfort in the area surrounding the tooth immediately after the procedure, over the counter painkillers and ice packs will help to reduce any tenderness. You many want to avoid biting down on or using the treated tooth for a day or so. Once the initial tenderness subsides, the tooth can be cleaned and maintained as normal, with regular brushing and flossing. Even if a crown is installed to protect the tooth, the surrounding teeth and gums will still need to be cared for to prevent further decay or damage.
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