What Should Be Known Before Getting a Root Canal?

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Doctor Answers 3

What's a root canal

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Root canal therapy is generally performed when a cavity is so deep that is causes pain and infection inside a tooth.  Teeth are made up of three layers.  The outer two are hard and bony, the deepest, called the dental pulp is is comprised of blood vessels and nerves.  A root canal is a procedure where the dentist drills through the outer two layers and exposes and removes the soft innermost layer and replaces it with a root filling.  This treatment is done to attempt to keep a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted and has a high success rate.  Following root canal therapy the tooth would require a foundational filling followed by a full crown in order to restore the biting strength of the tooth in order to prevent a non-repairable fracture.

Laurel Dentist

What to know before doing a root canal....

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Root canal therapy has close to a 97% success rate these days. Compared to 40 years ago, the success rate was probably closer to 60% for ten years. Newer techniques in sterilization, cleansing, filling, finding canals and diagnosis have made this procedure more predictable.

That said, implants are also becoming more predictable as well. In fact, they are probably about the same level of success as root canals in competent hands. Once a root canal is completed, the tooth will most likely need a core build-up to replace the hole made into the tooth to access the root, along with a CROWN afterwards to protect the tooth from fracture.

If you can't afford the build-up and crown after a root canal, it might be a good idea to reconsider whether it is worth doing the root canal in the first place as the root may leak and new decay get in there by the time a crown is done in the future to cover the tooth properly.

Randall LaFrom, DDS
San Jose Dentist

What is root canal treatment? Root canal treatment (also...

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What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury.

If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. If root canal treatment (RCT) is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.

The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection.

A local anaesthetic is used and there should be very little discomfort.

What happens during the procedure?
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Treatment can involve one simple visit or multiple visits for more advanced cases.

At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed. Any abscesses, which may be present, can also be drained at this time. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.

The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.

Ken Spektor, BDS
London Dentist

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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.