A root canal is a treatment used to repair a severely damaged or infected tooth, preventing it from requiring extraction. The procedure entails removing the soft core of a tooth, called the pulp, that has become infected or inflamed. Once the pulp is removed, Dr.Hashemi carefully cleans the area, then fills and seals the space. Next, she will fit the tooth with a custom crown for complete protection. A tooth’s pulp can become infected or inflamed as a result of severe decay, repeated dental procedures, or a chip or crack. The alternative to a root canal is to remove the tooth and fill the gap with a dental implant, bridge or partial denture.
Decades ago root canals were painful. But these days, thanks to modern advances in dentistry and local anesthetics, the procedure is not painful. However, left untreated, the infected or inflamed pulp can become extremely uncomfortable, lead to an abscess in the tooth, pulp death, and even bone loss. Every year millions of teeth are saved by root canals.
Symptoms that a tooth’s pulp is inflamed or infected, and may need a root canal, include swelling of the face or neck, a hole in the tooth, a toothache, temperature sensitivity or swelling of the gums.
The tooth may be sensitive for a couple of days following the procedure, which can be alleviated with over-the- counter pain medication. Once it’s capped with a crown, the tooth will look and function like a normal tooth. With good dental hygiene – brushing twice a day, flossing at least once per day and routine dental cleanings and checkups – the restored tooth can last a lifetime.
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