Root Canal

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Root Canals: aka Dental Canals, Dental Crowns, Preparing for Restorative Dental Surgery with Root Canals, Root Canal Procedures


What is it?


A root canal is nothing more than a procedure or root canal treatment that dentists use to try to save teeth that become decayed and infected. During this procedure the dentist will clean and seal part of the inside of the tooth known as the root and pulp.


If the dentist does not do this, the inner part of the tooth may become infected with pus or a pocket of infection may form, something known as a dental abscess.


Usually a root canal refers to the natural cavity that forms in the center of any tooth. The pulp of the tooth refers to a soft area that hides inside of the root canal. Nerves also lie in this root canal.


The Operation


During the procedure either a dentist or a specialized dentist known as an endodontist will work with you to prevent and treat any decay in the mouth and tooth. The dentist will take an x-ray to visualize the decay in the bone. Then, they numb the area surrounding the tooth and may place a piece of rubber known as a rubber dam around the tooth. This helps keep the working area dry.


Next they clean out the pulp and bacteria from the nerve and tooth using a drill and file. This can take several attempts, where the dentist working with an assistant will drill and file away any debris, then rinse. Often once the decay is removed the tooth is then bonded or sealed. Sometimes you need an antibiotic to clean up an infection.


Often because the space left behind after cleaning is large patients need a filling or crown or other restoration device to protect the small piece of tooth left. This improves the function of the tooth and will protect the tooth from breaking.


Alternatives to Surgery


A root canal is a form of surgery that helps prevent bacterial and decay from completely destroying the tooth and allowing it to die, resulting in a need for an extraction. When possible this procedure may help to preserve the life of a tooth.


Before the Operation


Make sure you get plenty of rest and avoid going in for a procedure if you are not feeling well or running any kind of temperature because you don’t want to have a weakened immune system when undergoing this type of procedure. You will need your immune system strong to help combat or fight any disease superimposed by the infection.


After the Operation- In the Hospital


Most people recover quite nicely at home and take a pain killer and some hot tea and plop in front of the couch for a day or so. You will find this is a lovely way to relax after a hard day and your teeth will thank you for it.


After the Operation- At Home


You may notice your tooth and the surrounding gum feels sensitive which typically is nothing more than a result of inflammation. This can be leftover from infection and is usually best controlled with simple ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You should also take it easy and avoid chewing directly on the tooth for a few hours to help prevent contamination and to allow the tooth time to heal.


Possible Complications


If a root does become infected or an abscess does grow because the infection spreads past the roots of the tooth, several severe side effects can occur including:


  • Swelling that can occur in the head, face and neck
  • Bone loss especially at the tip of the root
  • Holes in the side of the tooth or problems with drainage into the gums


Many people find root canals are perfectly fine for repairing decayed or destroyed portions of a tooth and the surrounding tissue, nerve and tooth. Often along with a root canal a dentist will place a crown or filling to restore the tooth, so the tooth will last for several years or more. Many people do not even realize a restoration has taken place unless they ask someone.


Sometimes over time the seal of the root canal breaks down over time, and this can allow bad bacterial to re-contaminate the tooth resulting in further decay. Regular dental checkups will allow for early detection for any types of problems or complications that may be associated with this type of surgery.


General Advice


Some signs you may need a root canal may include:


  • Pain or tenderness in nearby gums or teeth
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Recurring pimples in the gums which could be signs of infection
  • Toothache when you press on the tooth or when applying any type of pressure to the tooth
  • Severe sensitivity to hot and cold


Estimated Costs For Root Canals


The costs of root canals vary considerable. While the procedure itself is pretty explanatory it does take some time to have root canals completed. The skill of the surgeon or cosmetic surgeon has a lot to do with how well or how poorly the surgery goes. If at all possible you should try to get a referral from someone who knows someone that is familiar with cosmetic dentistry so you don’t end up walking into the office of some stranger.


Country Cost
USA $380-900
Hungary $125-300
Costa Rica $125-200
Mexico $200-300
Thailand $105-200

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