Root Canal Care:
Root Canal Care
Dr. Ben Kim
you know exactly what it means to need a root canal? This article will help you
understand what needing and having a root canal entails, and what you can do on
a daily basis to take good care of your teeth, including your root canals.
roots of your teeth make up approximately two-thirds of your teeth, and are imbedded
into your facial bones to keep your teeth securely in place.
root canals are the canals that exist within the roots of your teeth. Your root
canals travel up the roots of each tooth to meet the main chamber that lies in
the center of each tooth, called the pulp chamber. Together, the root canals and
pulp chamber of each tooth house soft tissue called pulp, which contains blood
vessels and the nerve that supplies each tooth.
you develop a dental cavity or a small fracture in a tooth, microorganisms in
your oral flora can gain access to the pulp chamber and root canals in the affected
tooth. Once inside a tooth, these microorganisms can cause infection and inflammation.
Canal Procedure - By Jeremy Kemp
first block in the picture to your right shows a tooth that has an infection below
one of its root canals. The second block shows drilling of the crown of the affected
tooth to gain access to the pulp chamber and root canals. The third block shows
the tooth being cleaned. And the last block shows the tooth after it has been
filled, and then fitted with a crown. These are the basic steps that make up a
root canal procedure.
root canal procedure typically removes the pulp -- including the nerve -- within
the affected tooth. Removing the nerve isn't a problem because the nerve is mainly
there to allow your tooth to differentiate between hot and cold, and is not needed
for chewing and breaking down food.
the goals of a root canal procedure are:
address an infection that is causing pain.
protect the affected tooth so that it can continue to function.
Signs and Symptoms that Indicate the Need for a Root Canal Procedure
- Severe pain in
a tooth while chewing
persistent or recurring canker-like sore or pimple on the gum region above a tooth
and tenderness in gums above and around affected tooth
(discoloration) of affected tooth
sensitivity to hot and cold (discomfort is still there even after source of hot
or cold sensation has been removed)
speaking, a conventional root canal procedure has a high success rate, and treated
teeth can last a lifetime if they are taken care of.
Observations on Troublesome Teeth that Have Already Received a Root Canal Procedure
your initial symptom is gum swelling and tenderness or a canker-like sore on your
gums around a tooth that has already been treated with a root canal procedure,
your dentist may attempt to address your situation by draining the sore and having
you take a course of antibiotics. The goal in this scenario is to clear out the
infection without having to drill your tooth or cut into your gums. Generally
speaking, I think that this is a good first-line approach. You can take a high
after your course of antibiotics to help replenish healthy bacterial flora in
a canker-like sore persists or returns after drainage and a course of antibiotics,
your dentist may refer you to an endodontist, a specialist in addressing root
canal issues. While x-rays can provide beneficial information to an endodontist,
he or she will have to rely upon observation, palpation, and experience to determine
the best course of action.
times, the endodontist will elect to cut into your gum to gain access to the infected
area for extensive draining and cleaning. If the tooth is not fractured, then
this procedure, coupled with a course of antibiotics, can result in a full recovery.
fracture is discovered in one of your roots, then you are likely to experience
recurring problems with that tooth, and in such cases, the best approach may be
to simply pull the tooth. Root fractures are sometimes not visible on x-ray; they
are usually discovered after your gums have been cut into for draining and cleaning.
point on root fractures: while they are readily discovered if they are on the
front surface of the roots of your teeth, if they are on the back surface of one
of your roots, it's quite possible that the fracture will not be detected by the
endodontist. This is why it is important that your endodontist carefully observes
and palpates your gums in front of and behind your teeth before he or she elects
to cut, drain, and clean. If your gums are swollen and tender in front of and
behind the affected tooth, there is a fairly good chance that one of the roots
of the tooth has a fracture, in which case it may be best to pull the tooth rather
than pay several hundred dollars cutting, draining, cleaning, and hoping. Please
remember: all of this applies to a tooth that has already gone through a root
to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy
are some simple steps that you can take on a daily basis to keep your teeth and
gums healthy, and reduce your chances of developing an infection that may necessitate
a root canal procedure:
Give your mouth a good rinse after each meal. If possible, brush your teeth as
well, paying careful attention to the back corners of your back molars. Keeping
your mouth free of bits of food and their juices is essential to preventing tooth
Each evening before going to bed, give your mouth a good rinse and gargle with
salt water. About 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water is enough for most
people. Salt water can act as a mild disinfectant, and is an effective cleansing
solution for the oral cavity.
Be sure to floss at least once a day.
Eat plenty of green vegetables and chew them well. Consider including mineral-rich
broths in your diet on a regular basis. Green vegetables and mineral-rich broths
can help to build and maintain healthy teeth from the inside-out.
Be sure to ensure adequate vitamin
D status; vitamin D is needed to maintain healthy teeth and bones.
cleaning, I recommend a combination of Tooth
Soap and any brand of natural tooth paste that agrees with you.
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