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Depending on when you grew up, the words “root canal” may conjure up images of a long time in the dentist’s chair, a lengthy recovery time, and of course, pain. However, even though it may take more than one visit to take care of your tooth, dental medicine has made significant strides over the years in terms of technique, anesthesia, and sedation, and having a root canal is not a traumatic experience. In fact, were it not for root canals, many teeth that have been saved might have had to have been extracted in days gone by.

A root canal is necessary when the pulp of your tooth has become infected. If your tooth has become damaged from decay or trauma, and bacteria finds its way into the pulp, you may experience pain, swelling and even a buildup of pus which is called an abscess. Aside from the discomfort, this is not a healthy situation for your mouth and the rest of your body. While the pulp keeps your tooth healthy, your tooth can survive without it.

To remove the pulp, the dentist will use a small drill to access it. The dentist will remove the pulp and rinse the root chamber with an antiseptic to neutralize any leftover bacteria. Then he may enlarge the chamber slightly in order to insert a material called gutta percha, which will take the place of the missing pulp. Then after the tooth has been sealed, the dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment to see how the tooth is healing and to discuss placing a crown over it. You may also receive a prescription for an antibiotic or pain reliever. If you experience any pain, nausea, chills or fever, contact the dentist right away, as the tooth may have become reinfected, or there may be another problem.

If you have a tooth that has been causing you concern, you should not delay in contacting our dentist, Dr. Szilard Zombor for an examination. To make an appointment at Concept Dental in Lynnwood, Washington, call 425-697-3907 today.