Welcome to Routines for Dental Care Section
by Dr. Pakravan Moenchengladbach
In this first series we cover root canal, what it is and how it is treated.
What is Root Canal?
When the pulp of the tooth is infected, damaged or decayed, dentists usually perform a root canal. The pulp refers to the soft tissue that runs all the ways from the crown of a tooth till the roots. It is this part of the tooth that also contains the nerves. In a root canal, the pulp and nerves are removed. The space created is then filled. However, the costs of the treatment are quite high and most patients would prefer not to have one. The good news is that there are some alternatives to root canal.
When the decay inside the tooth is near the nerves, usually the procedure is performed. However, at times, the dentist may decide not to do a root canal. Instead, after cleaning the decay out, the space is filled with a sedative or medicated filling. This can help with pain in the nerve. It is this pain that makes the procedure a necessity. But because of the sedative filling, the pain is prevented. This filling is temporary and after around a month, the filling is removed and a permanent filling is placed.
If the root of the tooth is infected, the dentist may first try to treat the infection with antibiotics. If the infection clears out after the treatment, then root canal is not performed. Some of the antibiotics used are penicillin and amoxicillin. However, it may take a few days for the antibiotic to start working. During this time, the person would require painkillers to help relieve the pain. Painkillers such as NSAIDs are usually prescribed. However, if the pain is severe, then a stronger painkiller is given. This alternative to root canal may not be feasible in all cases.
The last alternative is extraction. Not only is it a quicker option, it also costs less. The extraction can be done by an oral dental surgeon or a general dentist. After the extraction, the dentist may advise the person to have a bridge, partial denture or implant to fill the gap. This is recommended as the teeth on either side of the extraction will not have support and in the long run they will get loose or misaligned.
This replacement could end up adding to the cost of the extraction. Hence, before you opt for an extraction, it is important to speak to your dentist to find out how the tooth would be replaced.
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