Root canal therapy is a procedure that removes infected tissue from the interior of a tooth. It can save a tooth that would otherwise need to be removed. It can also prevent infection from spreading to other teeth. After a root canal procedure, you should follow your aftercare instructions closely to ensure a successful recovery.
The Root Canal Procedure
The term “root canal” is usually used to refer to an endodontic procedure, but it is actually the name of the chamber inside your tooth that holds the tooth pulp. The pulp is a collection of soft tissues, including nerves and blood vessels, that provide sensation and nourishment to your tooth. If this tissue becomes infected, a root canal procedure is often necessary to preserve the tooth.
During this procedure, your dentist or endodontist drills a hole in the tooth, then removes all the infected tissue. The root canal is sterilized, then filled with a special resin. A filling is placed in the hole that was used to access the pulp, then the tooth is prepared to receive a dental crown. The crown itself can be added at the same time or in a separate procedure.
Root Canal Aftercare
The root canal procedure is in many ways similar to having a tooth filled or crowned. The difference is that, instead of removing the exterior portion of the tooth, such as decayed enamel or dentin, the tooth’s interior is removed. You can experience some discomfort after your anesthesia wears off, and it’s important to keep swelling under control and to allow your body to heal.
Your dentist will provide instructions on aftercare, which will probably include using an ice pack to reduce swelling and taking a short time to rest. You’ll want to avoid strenuous physical activity and you might even take some time off work. You’ll probably be prescribed antibiotics, and you should take these diligently. If you notice anything unusual, bring it to your dentist’s attention, especially if you appear to be developing symptoms of infection.
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