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Root Canal Treatment

In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you'd probably have to have that tooth extracted. Today, with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment, that tooth may be saved. Root canal treatment is used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or has become infected.

Inside each tooth is both the pulp and the nerve. Once the tooth has formed and has been in the mouth for a period of time, the nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function. It's only function is sensory-to provide hot and cold sensation. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the function of the tooth.

When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp and can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left untreated, pus builds up and can form an abscess at the tip of the root. Pain and swelling can develop if the infected pulpal tissue is not removed. Not only can this infection injury your jawbone, it can affect adjacent teeth and your overall health. Teeth that require root canal treatment are not always painful. Signs that root canal treatment may be indicated include a severe toothache, pain on biting or application of pressure, long sensitivity or pain to hot or cold, a dark discoloration of the tooth and swelling or tenderness around the tooth.

Most often root canal treatment is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort, usually requiring only one visit to complete. Treatment involves removing the diseased pulp, cleaning and shaping of the root canal(s), and then sealing these canals with a flowable rubberized material. Most often teeth that have root canal treatment require a crown which restores the tooth to emulate its natural esthetic form and function. If properly cared for these teeth can last a lifetime.