What is a root canal?
The center of each of your teeth contains a small piece of tissue, called its pulp. Sometimes, this pulp becomes damaged or diseased, or even dies. When this happens, the pulp is removed by a dentist, and the space left behind is cleaned out, sculpted, refilled, and sealed. This procedure, which seals the area where the pulp was, is called a root canal. Root canal treatment in eden prairie mn is an effective way to save diseased or damaged teeth that would otherwise have been removed or fallen out. Damage to the tooth’s pulp may occur in cases where teeth are cracked, deep cavities exist, or if there is an injury to the tooth. Sometimes, in the cases of injury, like a blow to the teeth, it can take time for the pulp to die, so symptoms may not appear immediately. Once the tooth’s pulp has died or become infected, this can lead to an abscess, which occurs when an accumulation of pus builds up in the tooth, near the jawbone. An abscess is very painful and also likely to damage or destroy the bone adjacent to the affected tooth, so timely treatment is important.
Before your dentist performs root canal treatment, your teeth will be x-rayed, to determine the location and extent of the damage. The entire procedure will take place over a series of office visits. First, the dentist will cut into the tooth. If the tooth that requires root canal treatment is a front tooth, the dentist will cut into the back of the tooth. If the affected tooth is a molar, the dentist will cut into the crown, or top, of the tooth. Through this opening, the dentist will extract the diseased pulp, in a procedure called a pulpectomy. Then, the dentist will thoroughly clean the chamber where the pulp was, as well as cleaning the canals inside the roots of the teeth. This effectively removes all infection and possibility of future infection, as the entirety of the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. The dentist will also shape and possibly expand the area inside the tooth, to prepare it to accept a filling and to be sealed. If your procedure requires more than one visit, the dentist will place a temporary filling into the opening in the tooth to protect it in between procedures. Upon returning, the dentist will remove your temporary filling and replace it with a permanent filling that occupies the chamber where the tooth’s pulp was and the canals that go into the roots of the teeth. This permanent filling is made of a rubbery material called guttta percha, which is then sealed into the teeth with cement. Sometimes, if additional structural support is needed, the dentist may insert a plastic or metal rod into the root canal. Finally, the dentist will place a crown over the affected tooth, restoring it to its natural appearance and shape. Sometimes, if the tooth is severely damaged, the dentist may install a post in the tooth, subsequently building the crown onto this post.
Teeth that have been restored with a root canal procedure can be expected to last a lifetime, though they will require the same daily care as untreated teeth. Tooth decay may still appear in teeth that have undergone root canal treatment, so proper oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental exams, are a necessary part of follow-up and will reduce the occurrence of future problems. It is also advisable to avoid chewing on hard foods or ice, which may damage treated teeth. Because the pulp that keeps the tooth alive has been removed, teeth that have been treated with a root canal may become brittle and may be more likely to crack or break. It is important to discuss this with your dentist, as you determine whether to use a crown or filling on a tooth after a root canal procedure. Your dentist will compare x-rays taken before and after your root canal treatment procedure to determine whether the procedure was successful; in successful cases, bone will regenerate and support the treated tooth.
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