What is root canal treatment?

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Root canal treatment involves removing the dental pulp, a small thread-like tissue located in the center of the tooth. After the damaged, diseased, or dead pulp is removed, the remaining space is cleaned, shaped, and sealed. This procedure seals the root canal. A few years ago, teeth with diseased or damaged pulp were pulled out. Nowadays, root canal treatment makes it possible not to pull out the teeth.

Most common causes of damaged or dead dental pulp:

cracked tooth

deep decay

Trauma to a tooth, such as a severe blow to the tooth, whether recent or old

Once the pulp becomes infected or dead, if left untreated, pus can collect at the tip of the root in the jaw bone and form an abscess. The abscess can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth and cause pain.

Root Canal Anatomy

Depending on the case, the root canal treatment is done in several stages during several appointments with the dentist. To know :

First, the dentist drills the back of a front tooth or the crown of a molar or premolar.

After the diseased pulp is removed (pulpectomy), the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned, widened, and shaped to prepare them for filling .

When multiple visits are needed, a temporary filling is placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between visits to the dentist.

The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal are sealed permanently. A tapered rubbery substance, called gutta-percha, is inserted into each canal and is often sealed with cement. Sometimes a metal or plastic rod is placed in the canal to support the structure.

During the final stage, a crown is usually placed over the tooth to restore its natural shape and appearance. If the tooth is badly deteriorated, a post may be needed to reinforce it before placing the crown.

What is the lifespan of a restored tooth?

Treated and restored teeth can last a lifetime if properly cared for. However, new cavities can develop on the treated teeth. Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are therefore necessary to prevent any new problems.

Since there is no longer any pulp to keep the tooth alive, the root-treated tooth may become brittle and break more easily. This should be taken into account when deciding whether to place a crown or fill a tooth after root canal treatment.

To check the success or failure of root canal treatment,  dentists compare x-rays taken after treatment with those taken before. This comparison makes it possible to determine if the loss of the bone continues or if this one regenerates.

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