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Often times the best way to save a sore tooth is to have a root canal. It’s much better than an extraction.
Do you have a tooth that is no longer alive or has become infected?
This kind of toothache can persist for minutes or hours. It can be brought on spontaneously (can wake someone during sleep) or with irritation. Once a tooth has progressed to this stage a root canal treatment is necessary; otherwise, the only other option is to extract the tooth.
A Root Canal (or Endodontic treatment) can be done in one or two sessions usually. Once sufficient anesthesia is achieved in the tooth area, a dental dam is placed around the tooth to keep the tooth clean and dry. Then, with the help of magnification (microscope or special magnifying glasses), the damaged tooth is cleared allowing access to the inside of the tooth. Once we’ve cleaned, disinfected and given the shape required in the tooth root canal system, the root canals are blocked with a thermoplastic material called gutta percha to prevent reinfection. Finally, a temporary sealant is placed until the tooth is permanently restored (seal or crown).
At the end of the session, there is likely to be tenderness in the tooth and mild pain during chewing for a few days. This sensitivity passes gradually and has nothing to do with the prognosis of the tooth.
Back teeth (premolars/molars) are much more prone to fracture after root canal treatment. Research clearly shows placing crowns on root canaled back teeth drastically improves the long-term prognosis of those teeth. After these teeth are crowned, you can rest assured knowing that root canal treatments have a greater than 90% success rate at 10 years following treatment. Following a root canal procedure, it is not abnormal to feel discomfort to chewing or pressure on the tooth in question. This can last from a few days to a few weeks.
Root Canal Procedure (Detail)