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Root canals have gotten a bad rap over the years. Comedians make jokes about them, people fear them, and just the words “root canal’ summon up images of long, painful hours in the dentist’s chair. But the truth is that over the years, root canals have saved many teeth that once upon a time would have needed to be extracted.

The pulp in the interior of your tooth keeps it alive and healthy. It contains the nerves and blood vessels that your tooth needs. It can be infected if your tooth is damaged by trauma or decay, and if that infection is not addressed, it can spread to your jaw and other parts of your body. A root canal will remove that pulp while saving the structure of your tooth, which can then support a crown.

A root canal may take two visits, or the procedure may be finished in one trip to the dentist’s office. Your dentist will access the pulp with a small drill. After removing the pulp, the dentist will clean the root chamber with a disinfectant to remove any remaining pulp and neutralize any bacteria. Then he will enlarge the chamber and insert a material called gutta percha to fill the space left by the pulp.

Your dentist will then seal the tooth, and may give you a prescription for an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory or pain reliever. You will need to make an appointment for a follow-up visit to check your progress and discuss that to do next. While you are recovering, if you become nauseous, start to shake or sweat or develop a fever, you need to contact your dentist right away.

If you have a tooth that has been giving you problems, or if you would just like to see our dentist, Dr. Tyler Christopherson for your regular cleaning and exam, we would love to meet you. To make an appointment at Christopherson Family Dentistry in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, call 715-344-9684 today.