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Brush Up: On Root Canals

You've got questions about root canals, we've got boxed water... oh, and answers, that too!

What in the world is a root canal? A root canal treatment is a dental procedure that involves cleaning and filling the inside of a tooth, right down to the tip of its roots. We usually do this when an infection has spread very deep into a tooth, and by doing a root canal treatment, we can often save a tooth instead of having to pull it out.

How long does it take?

Most root canal treatments can be completed in 1-2 visits, depending on the type of tooth and how damaged the tooth is to start with, either from tooth decay or from injury. It involves creating an opening into the tooth, removing the nerves and bacteria within, before finally cleaning and filling the root canal. Sometimes a temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth between visits if the root canal treatment requires more than one visit.

Fun fact: To fill root canals, we most often use a rubbery material called gutta-percha, which is actually made from gutta-percha trees!

How long will the tooth last afterward?

A tooth with a root canal treatment can hopefully last a lifetime with proper care, but usually, the goal is to achieve a few extra decades for the tooth as root canal-treated teeth can become brittle and more prone to fracture over time. Good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups are essential to avoid future problems.


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