Root canal treatment (RCT) involves the removal of the nerve from the tooth by drilling a hole in the top surface of the tooth. The inside is cleaned out with disinfectants and thin instruments. The root canal is then dried and a rubber filling placed down the inside of the tooth.
will it hurt?
Despite all the horror stories associated with this treatment, advances in technology, and the experience of our professional staff have made root canal treatment far less painful than its reputation suggests. Ironically, root canal treatment is designed to minimize the pain from an infected tooth; it does not produce the pain.
why do I need root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment becomes necessary when the pulp inside your tooth gets infected. The pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth, consisting of connective tissues, blood vessels and nerves. The pulp goes from the crown of your tooth to the tip of the root in your jawbone. Normally, the tooth itself protects the pulp, but if the tooth is damaged by a very deep cavity, a crack, or trauma, bacteria can reach the pulp. The bacteria multiply, pus accumulates at the root tips, and the mouth becomes painful and sensitive to hot and cold. Not all pulp infections bring pain; sometimes they spread so slowly that the patient feels nothing.
what does the treatment involve?
Root canal treatment occurs in three stages. First your dentist will go through a process of diagnosis. Next, the root canal itself, where your dentist or an endodontist (a dentist who specialises in this treatment) removes the pulp and the infection, cleans the inside of the tooth preparatory to filling it, sometimes applying antibiotics to prevent further infection. A temporary filling is placed. Finally, the cleaning is repeated and then a definitive filling is placed inside the pulp chambers, roots and on top. Often a crown is recommended to seal the tooth and protect it from further damage or infection.
what are the alternatives to root canal treatment?
The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed it can't heal, and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Although some people would prefer to have the tooth out, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
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