What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a type of endodontic treatment that is designed to eliminate bacteria from an infected root canal, prevent future infections of the tooth, and save the natural tooth. This treatment is a procedure that removes diseased pulp from the center of a tooth. During this procedure, your pulp chamber and root canal(s) of your tooth are cleaned, medicated, and sealed. Restorative treatment such as a dental crown is then used to strengthen and protect the tooth.
Root canals are performed by endodontists, who are qualified dentists who have had two additional years of education and training in the treatment of the internal parts of a tooth.
When to Get Root Canal Treatment
A tooth’s root canal contains what is called pulp, which is soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, endodontic treatment such as a root canal can be performed to save the natural tooth. Root canal treatment is usually completed within one to two office visits, depending on the severity of the infection and your specific treatment plan. After a successful procedure, the natural tooth has the potential to last many years.
A pulp infection or inflammation is most likely to occur if you have one of the following:
- A deep cavity
- A cracked or chipped tooth
- Severe tooth decay
- Trauma to the tooth
If the cause of your tooth pain is attributed to a serious pulp infection or tooth decay, our dentists will recommend a root canal.
Signs You Need a Root Canal
It is important that you contact our dental office if you experience any of these root canal symptoms:
- Severe tooth or gum pain
- Swollen gums
- Dark discolored teeth
- A small bump on the gums near the painful area
- Prolonged tooth sensitivity to cold or heat
- A tooth that is tender when touched
- Tooth abscess
Root Canal Treatment Process
- Removing Diseased Pulp
The tooth causing you pain will be numbed for your comfort. The endodontist will then create an opening through the tooth’s crown and into the pulp chamber. While you are under local anesthesia, the endodontist will begin removing the diseased pulp from the pulp chamber and root canal.
- Filling the Root Canal
The next step involves cleaning, shaping, and disinfecting the hollow areas of each root canal. Once each root canal is cleaned, they are then filled with a rubber-like material to seal the canals completely. After root canal treatment, the tooth will no longer cause pain because the nerve tissue and infection were removed.
- Crowns and Fillings
Your tooth will become fragile after root canal therapy and over time will become more brittle. Adding a crown or filling will help protect your tooth and prevent further deterioration.