The procedure typically involves the following steps:
- Anesthesia: The dentist will numb the area around the tooth to be treated to ensure that the patient is comfortable during the procedure.
- Access: A small hole is made in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Cleaning: Using small instruments, the dentist will remove the infected or damaged pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. The inside of the tooth will then be cleaned and disinfected.
- Endodontic filling: Once the tooth is clean, the dentist will fill the pulp chamber and root canals with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. A temporary or permanent filling will be placed to close the opening in the tooth.
- Restoration: After the tooth has had time to heal, the patient will return to the dentist to have a permanent restoration (filling) or crown placed on the tooth. A crown is recommended most of the time for better durability/coverage.
After the procedure, it is common to experience some mild discomfort or sensitivity in the treated tooth, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. It’s also important to maintain good oral hygiene and to avoid biting or chewing on the treated tooth until the permanent restoration(filling) or crown has been placed.
In conclusion, a root canal is a common procedure that is performed when the pulp of a tooth becomes infected or inflamed. It involves removing the infected or damaged pulp, cleaning the inside of the tooth, and sealing it to save the tooth. The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia and the patient may experience some mild discomfort or sensitivity after the procedure. With proper care and maintenance, a root canal treated tooth can last a lifetime.
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