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Use of Radiographs in Endodontic Therapy

Use of Radiographs in Endodontic Therapy

When endodontic therapy, such as a root canal, is being considered, it is normally because bacteria has invaded the tooth, causing an infection in the pulp, the innermost layer of the tooth. Infection inside a tooth is quite painful, and the only way to rid the tooth of the infection is to perform a root canal. However, successful treatment depends on the ability to remove all of the bacteria and infected area, and this process can be challenging.

The pulp is the innermost area of a tooth, and it extends down to the tip of the root, through one or more primary canals. In addition, many smaller canals branch off from the primary canals. Infection and bacteria can live in any of these areas. The successful removal of the infection requires identifying all of these canals and cleaning them out. The only way to ensure that all of the canals are identified is by the use of radiographs (x-rays).

A radiograph shows the inner structure of a tooth and helps a dentist to identify the anatomy of the tooth and its system of canals. Teeth can vary in the number of canals they have, and the canals can vary in their location, size and shape. Taking a radiograph prior to the treatment helps to accurately recognize the canals so that the dentist can clean out all of the infected areas. Sometimes multiple radiographs are needed in order to view the canal anatomy from different angles. After completion of the treatment, an additional radiograph is normally taken to determine if the treatment was successful.

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