Why a Root Canal?
In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you would probably lose that tooth. Today, that tooth can be saved with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment. Root canals are a relatively simple procedure involving one to three office visits. Best of all, having a root canal when necessary can save your tooth and your smile!
What is the purpose of a root canal?
A tooth’s nerve is not vitally important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only purpose is sensory – to provide the feeling of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
About Root Canals.
Teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include:
- Severe toothache
- Pain upon chewing or applying pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity
- Pain in response to hot and cold temperatures
- Dark discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.
What happens during a root canal?
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist specializing in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, your doctor might suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breakage. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.