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The Why's and How's of root canal treatment

Posted Oct 27 2010 5:11am

The root canal operation is one of the most commonly performed dental operations along with filling cavities. However for most patients it conjures up images of acute pain with dentists drilling deep into your gums. Today however things are quite different. The root canal treatment is no longer the feared dental operation it was once considered but a routine treatment with minimum of discomfort. 

The actual procedure

The root canal treatment involves removal of the infected tissue and root channels. The hollowed cavity is then filled with an inert substance like gutta percha. The infected pulp is removed by way of a metal file. Local anesthetic is generally administered and the patient experiences minimum discomfort during the treatment. Post the operation the tooth is affixed with a cap or crown. Patients with a higher jaw pressure often need to be careful not to bite the tooth as the increased pressure impedes the healing process.
The success rate of the root canal procedure depends on whether the infection has been removed thoroughly. If the dentist is unable to clean the interior parts of the tooth then the chances of the infection recurring are high.

Innovation and comfort

Today the method has become more advanced with less time and more importantly less pain involved. Dentists use sophisticated techniques and tools like use of microscopes and lasers. The actual root canal surgery can take as less as an hour or so. Laser treatment has added another option though the method has to be researched for long term effects.

Root canal treatment becomes a viable option only when the pulp or inner soft tissue has been by decay. A tooth with an abscess and swollen due to pus will almost always need a root canal treatment if not extraction. Root canal treatment is also considered as a preventive option where the tooth has cracked and the infection could spread to the interior. The dentist could remove the upper portion of the soft tissue which contains nerve fibers without operating on the canals. This preventive surgery is known as a pulpotomy. In case the tooth or molar is chipped then a simple cavity filling procedure is the best option.

Robin writes about oral surgery procedures and orthodontic treatment for Anaheim Hills Dental Center, a premier dental office located in Anaheim, California. For more information about current root canal treatment options visit our site at

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