A root canal is a very common dental procedure performed in order to help save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants and bridges.
At the center of each of your teeth is the dental pulp, AKA the nerve of the tooth. Infection of the dental pulp can be very painful and is caused by a variety of factors including: trauma, deep cavities, cracks in the tooth, or repeated dental procedures.
What is The Purpose of a Root Canal?
The nerve of a tooth functions to provide hot and cold sensation, but other than that, it is not necessary to the tooth’s overall health and function.
If a tooth has a large cavity or is cracked, bacteria can enter the dental pulp and cause an infection. If not treated, that infection can cause an abscess, resulting in pain, swelling, and further deterioration of the tooth. Not only can the infected tissue injure your jawbones and surrounding teeth, it can also be detrimental to your overall health.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
Teeth that need root canal therapy are not always painful, but common symptoms of an infected pulp include: biting pain, visible swelling, obvious damage or decay to the tooth, temperature sensitivity, lingering or spontaneous pain, discoloration of the tooth, discomfort that wakes you up in the middle of the night, or tenderness in the neighboring gums.
What Happens During Endodontic Treatment?
Root canal treatment is completed utilizing local anesthesia where the doctor removes the diseased nerve from the tooth. After the infected tissue is removed, the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Next, the tooth is built up with white filling material. A crown is typically placed over the large filling in order to protect the tooth and help prevent future breakage.
While many teeth can be saved with root canal therapy, some teeth do require extraction if the chances of success with endodontic treatment are unfavorable or if complications become evident during or after treatment.