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No one sitting in a dentist chair wants to hear the words “root canal” unless the doctor starts by saying “You don’t need a…” Root canals have gotten a bad reputation over the years, although one poll indicated that they are preferable to having the flu. It’s unfortunate that so many people freeze up at the thought of having a root canal, since over the years they have saved many teeth that might have had be extracted in days gone by.

Your pulp is extremely important to the health of your tooth. It contains the nerves and blood vessels that keep your tooth healthy. But the structure of your tooth can survive without the pulp, and can support a crown. If you have a crack or a cavity that goes untreated, infection can set in and work its way to the pulp. Once the pulp has become infected, you run the risk of an abscess, which is a buildup of pus at the tip of the root of your tooth. This can lead to an infection that can spread to your jaw and other parts of your body. And it can be very painful.

Your dentist can use a small drill to access the pulp. The dentist will extract the pulp and sterilize the root chamber to make sure all of the pulp has been removed and any infection has been neutralized. After enlarging the chamber, the dentist will insert a material called gutta percha to fill the space left by the pulp. After sealing the tooth, the dentist will send you home. You will need to come back for a later appointment to so the dentist can check your progress and talk with you about placing a crown on your tooth. The dentist may give you a prescription for an antibiotic, pain-reliever, or an anti-inflammatory. You should take all medication as prescribed, and contact the dentist if you experience swelling, pain, nausea, a fever or shaking.

If you have a troublesome tooth, of if you are overdue for your regular cleaning and exam, our dentist, Dr. Allen Rosenthal will be happy to see you. To make an appointment at Advanced Endodontics & Microsurgery of Stamford, PC in Stamford, Connecticut, call 203-324-9239 today.