A root canal is a dental treatment used to save a badly damaged or infected tooth, especially if the tooth’s roots are involved. This is considered as a last resort to save the decayed or damaged tooth before a tooth extraction is considered. It is called a “root canal” because the treatment involves cleaning the canals of the tooth roots, and then filling & sealing these roots to prevent further infection from damaging the affected tooth.
Even before the actual root canal treatment takes place, several diagnostic exams will need to be done to determine if the treatment will be the one needed for the existing problem. Dental x-rays and/or dental CT scans may be obtained to check the extent of damage to the tooth, and also to determine where exactly the damaged part is located. During the day of the treatment, a local anaesthetic will be administered to ensure that the procedure will be painless. The pain associated with a root canal treatment actually stems from the discomfort felt from the infected tooth parts, and not from the procedure itself.
An opening will be drilled into the affected tooth to gain access to the inner parts. The infected tooth pulp part will be totally removed, and the root canals will be cleaned out. The canals will be filled with a special material, and will then be sealed to prevent the spread of infection and damage to neighbouring teeth. The treated tooth can then be further strengthened with a dental crown.
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