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Root canal is a procedure to save a tooth by removing the diseased or injured pulp. Once removed, the remaining space is cleaned and the tooth is sealed off. This pulp, or a collection of blood vessels in the center of the tooth, is commonly referred to as the nerve. Infection of this nerve can be caused by trauma to the tooth (past or present), deep decay, cracks and chips that have extended to the nerve, repeated dental procedures, or just the natural process of aging. Symptoms of the infection may present as visible injury or swelling of the tooth due to an abscess, sensitivity to temperature, or pain in the tooth and gums. A crown is recommended afterwards. Since the nerve and blood supply to the tooth are gone, the tooth may become brittle, resulting in a cracked tooth. A crown is designed to prevent this. Root canal treatment save your natural teeth and prevent the need for replacements, such as dental implants or bridges.
Upon assessment, if needed, we may refer your case to the endodontist appropriately so that you can receive the best care possible.
For the first few days following the completion of a root canal, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This sensitivity or discomfort usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen(Aleve). Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.
Until your root canal procedure is completely finished -- that is to say, the permanent filling is in place and/or the crown, it's wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. This step will help avoid recontamination of the interior of the tooth and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored.
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