Root Canals – (Endodontics Treatment)
A root canals (Endodontics) is a dental procedure that is used to remove diseased pulp tissue from the interior of a tooth. The narrow channels beneath the pulp chamber in the inner part of the tooth are hollowed out and cleaned, and the roots are filed with flexible nickel titanium files.
A tooth is made up of three main components: a hard protective shell referred to as enamel, a softer and sensitive middle layer referred to as dentin and a soft tissue inner layer referred to as dental pulp. Dental pulp is composed of nerve tissue, lymph tissue and blood vessels, and is considered to be the vital part of a tooth. If dental pulp is sufficiently traumatized - whether by exposure to oral bacteria via deep dental caries, a fracture in the tooth that enters the pulp or a forceful blow to the face - the tooth begins to die and root canals therapy is often required in order to prevent or eliminate infection and prevent tooth loss.
A root canals procedure involves tooth disinfection and the removal of all debris (nerve tissue, lymph tissue, blood tissue, bacteria and infection) from the coronal pulp chamber and its associated canals. Once an affected tooth's canals are sufficiently cleansed and shaped, they are filled with materials designed to prevent pain and infection from recurring.
Root Canals Signs
Certain signs may indicate that you have a diseased tooth or infected nerve and therefore may need a root canals treatment. These signs include:
- Minimal to severe pain
- Tooth Discoloration
- Swelling and irritation in the surrounding gum tissue
- Signs of infection visible on a radiograph
Dentists typically recommend a root canals in such situations to save the affected tooth and preserve its functionality.
Root Canals Procedure
At the first dental visit, you may be prescribed antibiotic treatment for a number of days before the root canals procedure is performed. At the beginning of the procedure, your dentist will anesthetize the tooth sufficiently to prevent pain while performing the root canals procedure.
A drill is then used to access the pulp chamber and associated canals of the tooth. Using flexible nickel titanium pin-like files, the dentist will delicately (but thoroughly) cleanse the length of the canals and tip (or apex) of the root to completely remove all traces of infection or debris. This process is performed with a great deal of care in order to minimize damage or trauma to the surrounding ligaments and bone. To accomplish this, the dentist may use additional tools to measure the root. These tools may include digital X-rays taken during the cleaning phase, an apex locator that works as a sonar probe to locate the tip of the root and a microscope providing up to 32-times magnification.
Your dentist will then disinfect and seal the tooth. Some dentists and endodontists use a special type of heat gun to fill the canal with a material called gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a natural, biocompatible, anti-bacterial material that expands and seals the hollowed area within the span of about 15 minutes. Other dentists and endodontists may use the bonding process to seal the tooth with a resin material. The dentist then fills the canal’s access hole with a temporary or permanent filling.
On occasion, a temporary filling is placed in the hole used to access the root canals in order to allow time for healing. Once the tooth is deemed to be healing properly and the root canal therapy deemed a success, a permanent restoration (such as a dental filling or crown) is placed. During the interim, you may receive medication to manage the soreness and discomfort that may result from the procedure.
The cost of a root canals procedure may range from 100 - 300 dollars.
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