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What is a Root Canal?

October 29, 2011 in Dentistry,Root Canals by McCarl Dental Group

When a tooth has a deep cavity or receives trauma, the nerve tissue deep inside the tooth may be injured beyond recovery. The typical repair procedure of a dental filling or crown may not be sufficient to treat the inflamed or infected nerve. A root canal is then the procedure necessary to treat and save the tooth.

The most common reason for a root canal is tooth decay – a cavity that has spread to the inner pulp tissue of a tooth. This inner pulp tissue contains the small nerve, artery and vein in a tiny canal in the center of a tooth. Sometimes there is no decay but the tooth has a history of deep fillings, has received a traumatic blow or has been worn down from years of grinding your teeth (bruxism).

The most common symptoms that indicate that you may need a root canal are: dental pain from hot or cold temperatures, pressure or swelling in the tissue around the tooth. There may be a bump or abscess on the gum that drains infection. Sometimes the tooth gets darker than the other teeth. Occasionally, none of these signs and symptoms is present, but an infection is noticed on your routine yearly dental x-rays.

During a root canal, a small opening is made in the tooth and slender instruments are inserted into the canals to remove the infected or inflamed pulp. Patients are given local anesthesia for the procedure. The area surrounding the tooth is completely numb and the patient does not feel discomfort during the root canal procedure. Typically, antibiotics and pain medications are prescribed to ensure a comfortable recovery after the Novocain wears off.

Some teeth have one canal in the root, some two, three or even four canals. This accounts for the difference in time and cost associated with root canals on different teeth. When all of the pulp contents of the canals are removed, the canals are disinfected and sealed. After the root canal, a permanent filling and usually a crown are needed to keep the tooth strong. Root canals are usually covered by dental insurance.

Root canals are usually painless procedures but like teenagers, “you only hear about the bad ones.” The dental pain associated with a root canal is caused by the infection. The procedure removes the infected root and the source of the pain. Occasionally, a root canal will need additional visits to control the infection.

Root canal therapy is the treatment of pain and infection that allows dental patients to keep their teeth. All treatment prescribed by dentists at McCarl Dental Group in our Millersville, and Greenbelt Maryland dental offices is recommended to help maintain optimum tooth health and structure.

The dentists at McCarl Dental Group spend time explaining dental treatments and options to our patients. We want each of our patients to understand their dental needs and why we suggest certain types of treatments over others. The primary goal of McCarl Dental Group is to help our patients have a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Call us in Millersville, MD (410) 987-8000 or Greenbelt, MD (301) 474-4144 or visit our website www.McCarl

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