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When do you need a root canal?

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People need a root canal when they have an infected tooth nerve or a damaged dental pulp. These conditions result from tooth decay or infections, and they are painful. Removal of the nerve and pulp are intended to prevent further complications and eliminate long-term discomfort.

Without a root canal, a person may experience worsening problems, including deeper decay, multiple future dental procedures and bad crowns. After pulp removal, the dentist cleans and seals the inside of the tooth to remove the infection and deter future infections. An effective root canal restores the tooth to proper functioning.

What symptoms indicate that you need a root canal?

Severe, persistent tooth pain, sensitivity to heat, swelling on the gum and pain when touching or biting down on a tooth are symptoms that indicate the potential need for a root canal.  The indicated tooth may also appear to be darker than other teeth.

Tooth pain severe enough to interrupt sleep or pain that persists long after the removal of hot or cold substances indicates a possible need for root canal therapy. Swelling associated with an infected tooth may radiate out to the ears, head and neck in addition to occurring along the gum line. A persistent or recurring pimple on the gum may also be present when a root canal is necessary. However, teeth in need of root canal therapy may also be symptom-free.

Root canal therapy repairs a badly decayed or infected tooth. Dentists use percussion testing, thermal testing and an X-ray evaluation to confirm the need for root canal therapy, according to Animated-Teeth.com. Electric pulp testing can also determine the vitality of the nerve in a symptomatic tooth.

Dentists remove damaged tooth pulp and nerve tissue during root canal therapy. They then clean and seal the inside of the tooth. Infections and abscesses in surrounding tissue may occur if teeth with damaged tooth pulp and nerve tissue do not receive treatment.

What does a dental root canal procedure involved?

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A root canal procedure involves removing infected pulp in the tooth. After the pulp is removed, the endodontist cleans and disinfects the root canals or pulp chambers in the tooth.

The endodontist then fills the chambers with a rubbery material called gutta percha. After the surgical site heals, the dentist may place a crown or a filling over the tooth to protect it and allow it to function normally.

Before the surgery, the endodontist X-rays and examines the tooth. During the surgery, the patient receives a local anesthetic so that she remains comfortable. When the tooth is numbed, the endodontist places a dental dam over it to isolate it. He then makes an opening in the crown of the tooth, and the surgery continues.

After the gutta percha is inserted, the endodontist may also place a temporary filling on the tooth. This protects the tooth while a crown is being created. If the infection has spread to the point where much of the tooth structure has been destroyed, the dentist may implant a post to hold the crown.

What causes pain in a tooth that had a root canal years ago?

A tooth with an old root canal might become painful because of an infection in the root, salivary contamination has occurred, the tooth has decayed since the root canal was performed or the tooth has been fractured. Some root canals last for the rest of the patient’s life while others fail within weeks, months or years of treatment.

The most common symptom of a failed root canal is pain in the tooth that does not go away after several days. This usually indicates an infection in the root of the tooth, according to 1800 Dentists, and treatment from a dentist or endodontist is necessary to treat it.

In some cases, root canals can be corrected years after the original treatment was performed. Essentially, the dental professional performs the root canal procedure again, including removing the original post and reshaping the canals from the root of the tooth.

It is not always possible to rescue a tooth in which a root canal is failed. If the root is too damaged, the dentist or endodontist may suggest removing the tooth entirely. While tooth extraction is not the preferred solution for most patients, it might be the only way to eliminate the pain and to protect the surrounding teeth.

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