What are Root Canals?

What are Root Canals?

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A root canal treatment generally involves the removal and replacement of a tooth’s pulp. The pulp is soft tissue containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue.

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If the pulp becomes damaged through injury or disease and cannot repair itself, bacteria and their products can leak into the pulp and cause the pulp to die. If a root canal procedure is not performed, an abscess can form at the tip of the root and cause considerable pain. Even if there is no pain, the bone anchoring the tooth in the jaw can be damaged. Without treatment, the tooth may have to be extracted.

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The pulp is removed after an opening is made through the top of the tooth. Then the roots are cleaned, shaped and filled permanently. A crown is usually recommended after a root canal.

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This procedure may be performed by a general dentist or a specialist called an endodontist. More than one office visit usually is required.

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The restored tooth can remain healthy with good oral hygiene at home and regular dental visits to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. If you take good care of it, the tooth could last a lifetime.

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