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What is a root canal?

Published Monday, February 23, 2015 by YFD

My dentist told me I need a root canal. What is root canal?
A root canal is a procedure to remove the dental nerve also called the pulp from within a tooth.

Why do I need a root canal?
A root canal is recommended for a tooth for a variety of reasons:
                The most common and obvious reason is to alleviate dental pain caused by a
                diseased pulp
                A broken tooth in which the canal space is needed for support
                A tooth in which the cavity is so large it involves the dental nerve or pulp space

How is a root canal performed?
A root canal is like a deep cavity or filling procedure.   The dentist will numb the tooth and isolate it with a rubber dam.  The dentist will access the nerve by drilling a little hole in the tooth.  Then the pulp space is cleaned and shaped before filling it with a special filling material.

Do I need a crown on my root canal tooth?
Yes.  It is recommended by both American Dental Association as well as American Association of Endodontists to restore a root canal tooth with a crown.  After root canal therapy has been completed on a tooth, confirm with the dentist if the tooth is sound and completely restored or if you need a new crown.  This is as important as the root canal itself for clinical success.

Can my general dentist perform this procedure?
Yes, a general dentist is trained to perform routine root canal procedures.  However, many times general dentists refer root canal procedures to Endodontists.  Endodontists are dentist with additional training and expertise in treating root canal procedures.  

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