Beauty And The Bath

Root Canal Procedure

Do you need a root canal procedure? When a tooth is severely infected and decayed, there is the potential for nerve death or damage.

Understanding Root Canals in Dental Therapy

When this occurs, the dentist may recommend the tooth be extracted and possibly the nerve in that tooth be also removed. This removal of the nerve is known as a root canal procedure.

The nerve and the pulp which is the soft tooth material found in the root chamber is removed together with any infected material and the area is cleaned and sealed. A successful root canal procedure may prevent the tooth needing to be extracted.

Root Canals

Although the procedure may save a decayed tooth from needing to be removed, the length of time it takes for a root canal procedure and the anticipated discomfort associated with the procedure, creates anxiety in patients who are facing the need to have the procedure.

The dentist will take an x-ray and decide on the appropriate treatment for the tooth. There are different types of root canal procedures and the dentist selects the appropriate treatment for the type of decay or nerve involvement.

Modern techniques have reduced the time required for the procedure and the equipment used will reduce the time the procedure takes.

Many people are fearful of a root canal expecting it to be very painful. The nerve is dead and many patients have reported that the pain and discomfort of this procedure is no worse than that of most dental procedures.

Dentists do use local anesthesia to primarily numb the area and assist the patient to remain calm and relatively free from anxiety.

Detailed discussions on what the procedure will involve, together with the patient making their own informed choices on their treatment where appropriate is an important part of modern dentistry.

Depending on the extent of infection, some dentists may choose to complete the treatment over two appointments and may introduce medication and a temporary filling after the tooth has been cleaned out and then book a second appointment to complete the work a week later.

Sometimes the extent of the decay or the treatment itself may require a crown or other restorative care be applied to the tooth. This will be discussed with the patient prior to the procedure taking place.

The Cost of a Root Canal

The extent of the work involved in a root canal makes the treatment an expensive procedure, particularly if the dentist recommends a crown be placed on the tooth after the procedure has been completed. 

The dentist will discuss the costs involved when planning the appropriate treatment for the problem the patient has presented with. It is essential to remember that despite the cost, the abscess and infection must be treated.

Without treatment, there is an extremely high risk of the infection leading to a systemic infection that may become life threatening. With treatment 95% of infected teeth will have no further problems for the life of the patient.

Understanding a root canal and its effectiveness as a treatment for severe tooth decay may remove some of the fear and anxieties associated with the procedure and encourage people to seek it as an alternative to tooth extraction.

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Published February 1, 2012