Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And today’s topic…. Root canals! How lucky is that?

Why root canals?
I’m going for one later today. I’ve heard horrible things about root canals, but I’ve also heard that they’re not that bad. So, I’m hoping for the not that bad.

I didn’t even really know what a root canal was until I was told I needed one. I’d heard about them, but never bothered to learn about them. It’s actually pretty neat what they can do – but I had a choice, it wouldn’t be going to the endodontist later today.

According to the American Dental Association, a tooth that is restored through a root canal has the potential of lasting a lifetime – provided it’s well cared for.

The procedure can vary in terms of number of appointments, some people can have a root canal done in one visit, others in two or three. The goal of the root canal is to clean out the abscess or infection that made its way down to the dental pulp, the soft tissue that has the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues for the teeth, usually through tiny fractures in the teeth. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth down to the root in the bone in the jaws.

The ADA describes the treatment:

1. First, an opening is made through the crown of the tooth.
2. An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
3. The pulp is then removed. The root canal(s) is cleaned and shaped to a form
that can be filled.
4. The pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped.
5. Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help get rid of
germs and prevent infection.
6. A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth
between dental visits. Your dentist may leave the tooth open for a few days to drain.
You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread
beyond the tooth.
7. The pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed.
8. The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are
cleaned and filled.
9. In the final step, a gold or porcelain crown is usually placed over the tooth. If
an endodontist performs the treatment, he or she will recommend that you return to
your family dentist for this final step.
10. The crown of the tooth is then restored.

Hopefully, this will be the end of my dental adventures for a while.

News for Today:

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Mediterranean diet and physical activity each associated with lower death rate over 5 years
Calcium in coronary arteries may be linked to increased risk for heart disease in low-risk women
Good physical function after age 40 tied to reduced risk of stroke

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