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Root canals are an extremely important dental procedure. Although they have a reputation for being painful and time consuming, a root canal may mean the difference between keeping and extracting a tooth.

Root canals are used when the pulp of your tooth has become infected and is putting your gums, jaw and surrounding tissue in danger. While your tooth needs the pulp to stay alive and healthy, the structure of the tooth can be saved and can support a crown if the pulp is removed. To do this, the dentist will access the root chamber with a drill and remove diseased pulp. After cleaning the chamber, the dentist will insert a material called gutta percha, which will fill the space left by the pulp. After sealing the tooth, the dentist will set a follow-up appointment with you.

Some pain can be expected after the procedure. However, if that pain persists, and if you develop a fever, nausea or chills, you should contact your dentist. If you experience swelling or shaking, you should call the dentist’s office. Some bacteria may have remained in the tooth and will be need to be removed. Cracks in your teeth can be very hard to detect, even with dental x-rays. If you have a crack in your root, your tooth can be reinfected.

It is important that you see your dentist for your follow-up appointment. But it is equally important that you continue to visit your dentist at least twice a year for your regular cleanings and exams. Your dentist will want to check your tooth to make certain that the crown and inner seal is intact, and that the infection has not returned. If you move, or change dental providers, you should have your previous dentist transfer your records to the new office.

If you have a tooth that has been giving you problems, our dentist Dr. Michael J Leahy will be happy to see you for an exam and a consultation. If you live in the Columbus, Ohio area, call 614-848-4900 to make an appointment at Michael J Leahy DDS.