For many dental patients, getting a root canal can be scary. If you have long associated this procedure with pain and discomfort, it is time to understand how this process works. While there may be some soreness following the treatment, a root canal is not as rigorous as you may think. It can preserve teeth…
Can Root Canal Treatment Save Teeth?
Root canal therapy is a routine procedure that is often recommended by a patient's dentist. In addition to relieving pain and discomfort, a root canal can actually save a tooth that has sustained serious damage or has become deeply infected. It is typically performed to remove the decayed portion of the tooth, allowing the patient to keep the tooth and not lose it.
What causes a tooth to decay?
A tooth contains a soft core known as the dental pulp. If a tooth is damaged by a crack or a break, this opening can allow bacteria to enter the pulp. Without treatment, the bacteria can lead to serious infection or even an abscess, which causes symptoms such as severe pain, swelling, and increased sensitivity to heat or cold. It can cause the pulp to die, which could result in the loss of bone or the tooth itself. However, by seeking dental treatment early, it is likely for a dentist to be able to save a patient’s tooth with root canal therapy.
How can a root canal save a tooth?
A root canal can be performed by a dental professional and is usually completed in one or two visits. Here is what to expect when receiving this tooth-saving therapy:
- Preparing for the root canal: First, the dentist X-rays the tooth to determine how badly it is damaged. The findings on the X-rays form the basis of treatment.
- Removing the initial decay: During the procedure, the dentist removes the decay and then accesses the diseased pulp. This pulp is then removed from the tooth.
- Deep cleaning: After the removal of the pulp, the dentist flushes and cleans the area to remove any remaining debris and infected tissue, and medication may also be applied to further treat infection. Then, the area is allowed to dry.
- Filling the canal: The cleaned, disinfected, and dried canal is first filled with a paste or rubber compound. Afterwards, the dentist inserts a filling into the canal.
- Finishing the tooth: The filled tooth is then sealed and restored by having a temporary or a permanent crown placed on it. It may be necessary to return for a second visit to have the permanent crown constructed and fitted in place.
How long can a root canal last?
A root canal can last on average 10 to 15 years. However, if proper dental hygiene is practiced, it is possible that it can last a lifetime. By rooting out the infection, the tooth can be saved for an extended amount of time or even permanently. Therefore, it is important to seek out a dental consultation for root canal therapy as soon as the initial symptoms occur.
Getting root canal therapy
If a tooth has been damaged or the pulp infected, a root canal may be the recommended treatment to save the tooth. This safe and effective procedure can help maintain the health of teeth for a long time.
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