A root canal-treated (RCT) or root-filled tooth is one in which the dental nerve, commonly called the pulp, is intentionally removed and is filled with an inert material called gutta percha.
Once an RCT is performed, the tooth must be restored with a post and a crown. These will strengthen the tooth and prevent a crack or fracture from developing after treatment. A good analogy is a tree branch.
Does tooth pain indicate i need a root canal?
A dentist first will tap on several teeth and look for signs of an abscess or a radiograph. A tooth with constant or severe pain does not necessarily indicate the need for a root canal.
These include sinus infections, myofascial pain, neurovascular disorders, neuralgias (a common cause), neuritis (a viral infection of the tooth), neuropathy, and neuromas. Even heart attacks can refer pain to the teeth of the lower jaw.
How is a root canal properly diagnosed?
A root canal is a treatment, not a diagnosis. Good dentistry, like good medicine, starts with a proper diagnosis of the tooth.
Some dentists argue that a diagnosis is academic and a waste of a patient’s time. The result is always the same, they say, a root canal. However, establishing a true diagnosis of tooth pain may avert an unnecessary root canal of an otherwise healthy tooth.
Other causes of tooth pain, other than those listed above, can include decay, bite trauma, bruxism (grinding or clenching at night), referred pain, nerve disorders and cracked teeth. These causes result in various effects, such as tooth nerve infection, inflammation and ischemia (a reduction of blood flow to the tooth).
What are my options once a root canal is inevitable?
It’s important to understand that all teeth problems are unique. No treatment is universal. Individual circumstances may dictate that a specific treatment is not an option. Or perhaps one option will offer a superior result over another.
Once the dental nerve has been properly diagnosed as dead, we can assume that the dental nerve space inside the tooth (called the root canal system) and the bone surrounding the tooth are now infected.
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