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  • Dr. Barry Yu

UNDERSTANDING ROOT CANAL TREATMENT: A SIMPLE GUIDE

Root canal treatment, often referred to as endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure designed to rescue ailing teeth by eliminating pain, infection, and the need for extraction. Let's break down this common procedure to help you understand it better.


Root Canal Treatment Microscope
Endodontic Microscope


Why Is Root Canal Treatment Needed?


Teeth are marvelously intricate, with a soft tissue known as pulp nestled within them. This pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, playing a vital role during tooth development. However, when teeth become damaged due to deep cavities, cracks, repeated dental procedures, or trauma, this pulp can become inflamed or infected.


Root canal treatment becomes necessary when the pulp's inflammation or infection threatens your oral health. If left untreated, it can lead to severe pain and even the formation of an abscess.


What Happens During Root Canal Treatment?


Root canal treatment is not as daunting as it may sound. It's similar to a routine dental filling and can usually be completed in one or two appointments. The procedure can be performed comfortably, with patients typically receiving local anesthesia.


Cone Beam CT Scan endodontics Root Canal Treatment
Cone Beam CT CBCT


Here's a simplified overview of the steps involved:


1. Pulp Removal: The dentist carefully accesses the inside of the tooth and removes the inflamed or infected pulp.


2. Cleaning and Disinfection: The tooth's interior is meticulously cleaned and disinfected to eliminate bacteria.


3. Filling and Sealing: Once cleaned, the space is filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha to prevent reinfection.


4. Restoration: To ensure the tooth's strength and function, it is usually restored with a crown.


Benefits of Root Canal Treatment:


Root canal treatment offers several advantages:


- Pain Relief: It alleviates the pain and discomfort caused by an infected tooth.


- Preservation: Root canal treatment saves your natural tooth, preventing the need for extraction.


- Functionality: Your treated tooth will continue to function like any other tooth, allowing you to eat and speak comfortably.


- Aesthetics: The tooth is restored to its natural appearance, enhancing your smile.


- Cost-Effective: In many cases, root canal treatment and tooth restoration are more cost-effective than tooth extraction followed by replacement options like implants or bridges.


In conclusion, root canal treatment is a crucial dental procedure that can rescue teeth from pain and infection. It's a relatively straightforward process that aims to preserve your natural smile and oral health.


If you ever experience tooth sensitivity, severe pain while chewing, gum issues, or deep decay, consult with a dental professional. They can determine if root canal treatment is the right solution for you, helping you maintain your beautiful smile for years to come.

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About Authors

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Graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis (U.S.A.), major in biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Yu has further obtained his dental degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (U.S.A.).  Dr. Yu is qualified to practice in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong, and has over 10 years of practicing experience in the US before starting both practices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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Dr. Chrissie Lam graduated from University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A.) with a bachelor degree in Nutritional Science before earning her doctorate degree in dentistry from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (U.S.A.). In her 10 years of practice she took care of her patients, both in U.S.A. and Singapore with her warm demeanor and excellent clinical skills. 

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