Root canals are used when an infection damages the root and the base of the tooth so severely that it can't be corrected with medications or filling the activity with a composite from the outside. During the procedure, the nerve of the root of the tooth is removed as well as the infection. Once the area is sufficiently cleaned, it is filled with a composite or cement-like substance. The tooth is kept as intact as possible of the surface. While almost all of the nerve and root may have to be removed, the upper portion is supported as much as possible to prevent further damage.
The permanency of a root canal will depend on whether all of the infection has been removed or if the upper portion of the tooth is allowed to remain intact. If the crown of a tooth has been damaged at all, another infection may be able to work its way down into the center portion of the tooth. If this occurs, the dentist may recommend not performing a second root canal, but instead replacing the root of the tooth with a dental implant and crown that take the place of the original tooth without disrupting the appearance of the mouth's surface.
Root canals are not the only option a person has. A root canal may only solve the problem on a temporary basis. Extracting the damaged or diseased tooth and replacing it with a dental implant may be a viable option that promises longer-lasting results. An implant calls for a small metal rod to be placed into the jaw bone where the tooth's root was located. As the bone grows around the rod, it secures it firmly and helps to support the nearby teeth. Once the post as been secured, the dentist will add a crown so the implant looks like the rest of the teeth in the area.
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