Root canal therapy is generally considered to be the most dreaded dental treatment. According to a survey by the American Association of Endodontists, the fear most people have about dentists and dental procedures usually stems from other people’s experiences and not theirs.The erroneous information about root canal therapy stops many patients from making a guided…
Can Multiple Teeth Need a Root Canal?
Dentists recommend root canal treatment for damaged, diseased, or infected teeth. The treatment aims to eliminate bacteria within the tooth's pulp and save a patient's natural teeth. After a tooth matures, it no longer requires the pulp for nourishment. The dentist removes the infected pulp, disinfects the inside, and seals it to prevent reinfection.
Can dentists treat multiple teeth in need of root canals?
Decay and damage do not always occur in only one tooth. In the case of cavities, some patients have a predisposition for tooth decay. Likewise, patients might suffer cracks to multiple teeth due to accidents or grinding. Cracks can extend to the root and consequently damage the pulp. If an individual has various infected or damaged teeth, a dentist may recommend multiple root canals.
When does a tooth require a root canal?
Before undergoing a root canal, patients can benefit from understanding the anatomy of their teeth. The pulp is a soft tissue beneath the enamel and dentin, extending from root to crown. It houses connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.
Deep decay and cracks damage the pulp. When left untreated, the pulp becomes inflamed and infected. Signs of an infection include:
- Severe pain while chewing
- Swollen gums
- Sensitivity to hot and cold lingering after contact
- Dark gums
- Bumps or pimples appearing on the gums
An infection in the tooth can spread to surrounding tissues and jawbone. Root canals are ideal for patients who want to save their teeth and preserve their bite.
How long does the root canal process last?
While multiple teeth may require root canal therapy, most dentists do not perform numerous root canals in one sitting. The procedure involves creating a tiny opening within the tooth to access the chamber. Next, the dentist carves out the tooth's nerve, removes the infection, and thoroughly disinfects the tooth.
Most appointments last between 30 minutes to one hour, but complex procedures last as long as 90 minutes. The length of time depends on the position of the tooth and the extent of the damage. For example, canines and incisors take less time because they have a single root to clean and fill. On the other hand, molars might have four canals to treat.
Dentists often fill and seal the tooth with a temporary filling material following the procedure. Most set up a second appointment to fit a permanent crown.
Most patients return to regular activities shortly after the procedure. Many patients can resume work on the same day or the next. Full recovery usually takes a few days, but rare cases require one to two weeks. If several teeth have infections, the dentist may treat the infections with antibiotics and schedule several procedures over time.
Root canals preserve a patient's natural teeth. In some cases, individuals present with multiple damaged or decayed teeth. While dentists do not perform numerous root canals in one appointment, they do perform this treatment on multiple teeth over a period of time.
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