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What is a root canal?

Root canal therapy is generally performed due to a damaged, diseased or traumatically involved pulp, the area inside the tooth where the nerves and blood supply are contained. After an examination and review of X-rays, your dentist will determine if a root canal is needed.

One or more appointments will be scheduled during which the pulp will be removed and the pulp chamber and canal will be shaped, cleaned, sterilized, and filled with a permanent material. Your root canal treated tooth will also need an appropriate restoration such as a filling or crown after the treatment is complete.

The most common comment after a root canal is, “That wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.” Often patients will refer to their root canal treated tooth as “dead.” Contrary to this popular notion, after the root canal treatment the tooth will receive blood supply from the surrounding tissue. The tooth will be functional for biting but will not have hot or cold sensation. Modern root canal therapy is more than 90 percent successful. With proper care, root canal treated teeth may last just as long as other teeth.

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