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ROOT CANALS

Why would I need a Root Canal?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If this inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

What symptoms would I have?

Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.

What does a Root Canal procedure involve?

A root canal is completed in one or more appointments.  An opening is made in the crown of the tooth.  Very small instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and also used to shape the space for the medicaments, filling and or post.
After the space is cleaned and shaped, the root canal(s) is filled with special medicaments. In most cases, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. The temporary filling will be removed before the tooth is restored.  An unrestored tooth that has had a root canal is susceptible to fracture; therefore a full restoration should be completed as soon as possible.
You would return approximately one week later to begin the final restoration of the tooth.  If the tooth lacks sufficient structure, a post may be placed inside the tooth then preparations made for a crown.  The crown will protect the tooth from breaking and complete the restoration. 
Most teeth treated with a root canal last as long as other natural teeth with proper dental hygiene and regular cleanings and checkups.  In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone treatment does not heal completely.  Symptoms may resurface months or even years after successful treatment.  When this occurs, the tooth would need to be re-treated with root canal therapy. 


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