I’m sure most of my readers will have heard of the term, Root Canal
Treatment by now. Just what is it? Why do so people dread and fear
the thought of having to have one done?…I’ll get to that later!

A root canal therapy involves the treatment of an inflamed pulpal tissue
of a diseased or infected tooth. This pulpal tissue is comprised of blood
vessels and nerve networks. Each tooth has its own blood and nerve supply.

This pulpal tissue is located inside the narrow space situated in the center
of the tooth root or roots. This space is referred too as the canal of a
single rooted tooth like a central incisor or canals of a multi-rooted tooth
like a molar. Most molars will have at least three canals and some may have
four or more!

When the pulpal tissue becomes irritated or damaged due to prolonged dental caries
activity or from a traumatic blow or injury, an infection of the pulp usually takes
place. This infection may be acute or chronic depending on the circumstances that
caused the infection or damage initially.

One of the more common causes of tooth nerve damage is trauma. The traumatized
tooth initially may become loose, painful and eventually tightens up but then
discolors (darkens). The teeth usually involved in this type of situation are
the maxillary (upper jaw ) anterior (front) teeth and less commonly the
(lower jaw) anterior teeth.

If you ever notice that someone elses front tooth or teeth are dark in colour,
you could safely assume that a particular tooth has been traumatized.The
dental profession refers to this type of tooth as a non-vital, chronically
infected tooth without any painful symptoms.

Traumatized teeth can remain dormant and in a chronic state for years without
causing any pain and therefore not requiring any form of treatment immediately.
While other traumatized teeth may result in an acute situation where root canal
therapy is required ASAP.

Then there are teeth that become non-vital because of a prolonged carious lesion
which goes untreated and causes the nerve tissue to become inflamed or infected.
These types of neglected teeth may become chronic with little or no pain associated
at first then eventually become acute, followed by a swelling and considerable
pain.

The non-vital,chronically infected tooth may not have any symptoms at all other than
obvious discoloration. In any event, an x-ray of the tooth or teeth in question, is
ALWAYS incdicated prior to initiating treatment.

A root canal therapy involves the removal of the diseased or infected pulp tissue,
using files and reamers to instrument the canal until it is free from all bacteria.
It is then sterilized and hermetically filled or sealed with a biological, compatible
filling material such a s ” Gutta-percha, a rubber like material usually pink in colour.

It is important to have non-vital teeth treated sooner, rather than later to prevent
the infection from reaching the surrounding bone tissue and causing additional problems.

Root canal therapy usually is done in one appointment, however that said,depending
on the individual situation, a series of appointments may be necessary to complete
the treatment.

Due to the multiple variations in the root shapes, sizes and positions of the teeth,
not all teeth that require root canal therapy may be treated successfully. A successful
root canal is usually possible if all the canals are located, accessible to
instrumentation, sterilized, filled and hermetically sealed.

Fees for root canal therapy varies depending on the number of roots involved.
The more roots and canals a tooth has, the more it will cost to have it treated.

Root canal therapy for the most part is highly successful. Probably in the
90 to 95% range. Most root canal treatments are done readily and without any
pain or consequence. That said however, there are those situations where root
canal treatment my be very painful and un-desireable.

Although this happens rarely, this is the situation that most individuals will
remember and tell everyone about the terrible root canal experience they encountered.
Most people never talk about the easy or uneventful root canal therapies that
occur most of the time.

When teeth have to have root canal therapy,its important to realize that the tooth in
question will not be as strong as it was before. It will become dried out and brittle.
Hence, making it more susceptible to fracturing. Consequently, most endodontically
treated teeth, will require a subsequent full crown coverage for protection from breaking
in the future.

THere is no reason to be apprehensive or fearful of having root canal treatment.
Most go smoothly and painlessly. Root canal therapy has a MAJOR role in the
wonderful world of Preventive dentistry

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