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Getting to the Root of Root Canals: What to Expect

So what exactly is a root canal? Basically, a root canal is a dental procedure that is used to fix a tooth that can't be fixed (filled or restored) in any other way. If a tooth is decayed to the point of affecting the nerve, or if it is abscessed, then a root canal is usually the only option available that can save the decayed or abscessed tooth.
The Root Canal Process
If you're going to be getting a root canal, please understand that reading about the process sounds much worse than going through it. The main reason being is that you will be 100% numb while the root canal is being performed, and I know reading this can sound painful. That will actually be the first step in this process, numbing the effected area so that you will be pain free throughout the procedure. After the numbing is complete, a rubber dam may be used to keep the area around the tooth dry and saliva free.
The next step after placing a rubber dam over the tooth to keep it clean and isolated from the rest of the teeth, will be to drill an opening into the subject tooth. This will allow us to remove all of the decay and bacteria that have built up over time which created the issue in the first place.
Once the tooth is cleaned out, it's time to focus on the root. We will use root canal files in order to do this. These are instruments that will slowly increase in diameter of size so that we can get down into the root, clean it, and finally remove the nerve itself. Once the nerve is removed, we will fill the roots with a rubbery filling material and a filling will be placed on the tooth. Like it or not, that is the root canal process in a nutshell..
After the Root Canal
Once the root canal oral surgery process is complete, you will then have to figure out what to do with the tooth, if anything at all. However, after a root canal the subject tooth can become very dry and brittle, making it much more of a breaking risk.
So a dental crown or cap is usually recommended in order to restore and protect the tooth properly for the long term. Root canals have extremely high success rates, but every now and then there can be complications with the infection coming back which may require another root canal or even removal of the tooth all together. The only alternative to having a root canal done would be the complete removal of the tooth in question, which would then mean getting a dental bridge or dental implant to solve the problem.
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