Teeth with a diseased nerve in it are in need of root canal therapy. Inside of all normal teeth is a cavity containing nerves, blood vessels, and live soft tissue. It is called the dental pulp. Occasionally the pulp tissue is abused by trauma, deep decay, large fillings, crowns, or other factors, and the pulp tissue becomes necrotic (dead). Usually, pulp death results in pain and bone destruction visible on dental x-rays.
Treating a necrotic (dead) pulp is a delicate procedure requiring the following steps. Each is performed with total and complete anesthesia - you should feel nothing.
A small hole is made in the tooth to allow access to the dead pulp tissue.
Using a series of small files and ultrasonic cleaners, the dead pulp tissue is removed from the internal part of the tooth.
When the internal portion of the tooth is cleared of all debris and cleaned, this area is filled with a "plastic-like" material to seal the void that the dental pulp occupied. A filling is then placed to restore the tooth.
If the tooth has been severely weakened, it may need a supportive post placed internally, and a subsequent crown (cap) for strength.
Root canal therapy is about 95% effective in restoring the tooth back to normal function. However, occasionally mild discomfort lingers for a few weeks before the tooth feels normal. Teeth that receive root canal therapy are expected to heal and become a healthy, strong, non-painful part of your body.
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