Root canal therapy is treatment used to repair and save a tooth that has been infected due to a deep cavity or cracked tooth. The treatment involves removing the pulp and the nerves of the tooth, and cleaning the infected area. A tooth’s pulp and nerve are not important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has fully emerged from the gums. If the treatment is not performed, bacteria builds up at the root tip and the infection of the pulp can spread to the surrounding bone. The results in pain and swelling, and your tooth would likely have to be removed.
During this procedure, the crown of the tooth is opened, allowing the doctor to access the root canal. The pulp tissue in the infected root canal is removed and the canals cleaned. A series of files is used to remove any remaining tissue, slightly enlarge the canals, and smooth the walls of the canals. Once any infection has completely cleared up, which could take a few days or longer, the root canals are sealed with a material called gutta percha or with root canal sealer to prevent bacteria or debris from entering the root canals and causing further infection. Finally, the crown of the tooth is sealed with a filling or crown.
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