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A root canal is a common dental treatment to alleviate pain and/or infection of a decayed or injured tooth. This may be due to a nerve of a tooth, and is oftentimes caused by a cavity or some sort of decay within the tooth. Trauma can also cause problems to your tooth, such as the clenching or grinding of the teeth. When a root canal needs to be done, we will remove the inflamed nerve tissue from the tooth.
When performing a root canal procedure, we will first install a rubber dam or “rain coat”, which will isolate the tooth as a protective barrier so that the medications we use during the procedure stay within the tooth and not in the patient's mouth. Then, we access the dental pulp chamber and we use tiny files to clean out the canal that houses the nerves and the blood supply to the tooth. Once this area has been cleaned out, we will disinfect the canal, and then place a filling material within the canal space to seal it and keep it from becoming infected with bacteria, which can cause further inflammation.
Afterwards, the tooth will need a build up and a crown in order to cover the tooth and prevent fractures. When a root canal is performed the nerve, nutrient supply, and blood supply to the tooth will be gone and the tooth can become brittle. This increases the likelihood that a tooth will crack or break, so a crown can help protect the tooth that received root canal therapy and keep it from experiencing further cracking/problems down the road. If a tooth that has received root canal therapy in the past ends up breaking, it may break to the point where the tooth may need to be extracted and all the efforts to save the tooth have been wasted.
Aftercare: Avoid chewing and eating until all numbness is completely gone. Take pain medication before the anesthetic wears off. Take the antibiotics as prescribed by our doctors. Brush and floss normally. Call us if sensitivity to pressure lasts more than a few days. Rinse your mouth three times daily with warm salt water to reduce discomfort and swelling. Limit yourself to calm activities for three to five days. Avoid crunchy foods. It is essential to have the tooth restored with a crown within two weeks of the root canal to avoid fracturing the tooth. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.