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What is a root canal treatment?
Root canal therapy (endodontic therapy) is a technique used to save a diseased or damaged tooth. The alternative to a root canal would be an extraction or removal of the tooth. Treatment requires that the nerve inside the tooth be removed and replaced with a solid filling material that is resistant to infection. A Dark Tooth A dark-colored tooth in an adult usually indicates that the nerve of the tooth has become infected and the normal flow of blood in and out of the tooth has stopped. Treatment In most cases, the tooth will need a root canal. Sometimes the tooth will "die," yet not need a root canal. To restore the tooth to its natural color, you might consider bonding, veneers, a crown, or single-tooth whitening, a procedure in which a whitening agent is placed inside the tooth after root canal treatment.
Are root canal treatments painless?
Since you're numb when a root canal is performed, you probably won't feel anything during the procedure. Most people (about 75 percent) experience no discomfort after this procedure. The discomfort experienced by the remaining 25 percent is usually caused by the infection that made the root canal necessary, not by the root canal. You should receive medication to stop the infection and relieve any associated discomfort.
How many office visits will it take to complete a root canal?
It depends on the location of the tooth, the number of root canals in the tooth, and how much infection is present. Root canal therapy generally takes between one and three appointments to complete. Since most root canals require the placement of a crown, you may need one or two more additional visits to have the crown fitted. At our office we understand that your time is valuable, and we make every attempt to complete treatment plans as efficiently as possible.
What are the alternatives to a root canal treatment?
Once the pulp of a tooth has become infected, your choices are limited. You could choose to delay treatment, you could choose to have the tooth extracted, or you could choose to save your tooth with root canal treatment. The problem with delaying treatment is that an infected tooth will never heal on its own, and this can lead to some very serious problems. As the infection spreads down the tooth and into your jawbone, the pain may become excruciating. It could even put you in the hospital and threaten your life. An extraction is only a short-term solution. While it does remove the source of infection, it sets off a chain reaction of shifting teeth and other dental problems. The only way to save your tooth and keep it in your mouth is to remove the infection with root canal treatment.
What are some of the problems that can happen with a root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a common dental procedure used to treat infected or inflamed pulp tissue within a tooth. While root canal treatment is generally considered safe and effective, there are a few potential problems that can occur. Some of these problems include:
- Incomplete removal of the infected or inflamed tissue: If the dentist fails to remove all of the infected or inflamed tissue during the root canal procedure, the infection can persist and cause further damage to the tooth.
- Instrument fracture: Occasionally, the instruments used during the root canal procedure can break inside the root canal, which can make it difficult to complete the treatment.
- Perforation: During the root canal procedure, the dentist may accidentally perforate the root of the tooth or the surrounding bone. This can lead to complications, such as an infection in the surrounding tissues.
- Infection: In rare cases, a new infection can develop after the root canal procedure. This may be due to a new bacterial infection or due to incomplete removal of the original infection.
- Pain: While some discomfort after a root canal procedure is normal, persistent or severe pain can indicate a problem. This may be due to an incomplete procedure or an undetected problem with the tooth.
- Crown or filling failure: After a root canal, the tooth will need to be restored with a crown or filling. If the crown or filling fails, it can cause further damage to the tooth.
It is important to follow your dentist's instructions for post-operative care and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure the success of the root canal treatment. If you experience any problems or concerns after a root canal procedure, be sure to contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Root canal procedures are a painless procedure and actually relieve pain - since the infection is drained. - Richard Lestz, DDS