A root canal procedure becomes necessary when infection or inflammation develops in the pulp tissue of the tooth. Pulp tissue consists of blood vessels, connective tissue and nerve cells — which explains why a problem here may cause you to feel intense pain. In time, the pain may go away... at least temporarily. Without treatment, however, the infection won’t. It can lead to a dental abscess, and may even contribute to systemic problems in other parts of the body.
Root canal therapy is one of the most routine and effective dental treatments and can often be accomplished in just one visit. The root canal process generally begins the same way as a filling does: an anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. Next, a small opening is made in the surface of the affected tooth to give access to the pulp chamber and root canals. Tiny instruments are used, sometimes with the aid of a microscope, to remove the dead and dying pulp tissue from inside these narrow passageways. The chamber and empty canals are then cleaned, disinfected and prepared to receive a filling of inert, biocompatible material. Finally, adhesive cement is used to seal the opening in the tooth, preventing future infection. To further protect the tooth and restore it to full function, it’s usually necessary to have a crown or other restoration placed on it.
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