Root canals are probably not on the top of anyone’s list of fun things to talk about, but it’s important to know what a root canal is, why you would need to have a root canal, and what the root canal procedure entails. This way, you can be well-informed when discussing options and procedures with your dentist should the occasion arise that a root canal is necessary. Here are the facts:
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure done to save a tooth that has become infected or very badly decayed. The actual root canal within the tooth is the natural cavity that is inside each tooth where the nerves live. This is the area that can become infected or decayed. Without the procedure, the tooth could easily become more infected and abscesses (puss-filled pockets) could form at the root of the tooth.
Why Would You Need To Have a Root Canal?
You would need to have a root canal procedure performed by a dentist if the root canal in your tooth has become infected or badly decayed. The root canal holds the tooth’s nerves and pulp. The nerves or pulp can become irritated and infected due to a number of causes, including decay, large fillings, repeated dental work on one tooth, or a crack in the tooth.
There may not always be symptoms present with the infected or decayed root canal. However, some symptoms that may clue you in that your root canal is infected or decayed include severe toothache, extreme sensitivity to hot or cold, darkening of the tooth and swelling of the gum surrounding the tooth. These symptoms could be likely indicators that a root canal is needed.
The root canal becomes necessary if the nerves and pulp are decayed or infected because several serious issues can arise if left untreated. The swelling of the gums around the infected tooth could spread to the face and neck, bone loss could occur at the tip of the root, and drainage problems from the tooth could cause a hole to form in the tooth.
What Does The Root Canal Procedure Entail?
The root canal procedure involves removing the nerves and pulp from the root canal in the tooth. These parts of the tooth are not vital to its function, as the nerves simply detect hot and cold sensations. While these sensations will be lost, the day-to-day function of the tooth will remain in tact. The root canal procedure takes one or more visits to complete depending on the severity of infection, the difficulty involved in repairing the root canal, and the dentist’s comfort level with the procedure on the tooth. Advances in technology have also made it easier to perform an entire root canal procedure in one day, though not all dentists have this technology.
On the day the root canal procedure is scheduled, an X-Ray is taken to assess the tooth and the infection present. Next, local anesthesia is given to ease the pain and discomfort of the procedure. A small access hole is drilled into the tooth so that the nerves and pulp can be entirely removed. Then, the root canal is cleaned thoroughly by using small files to scrap the inside of the tooth. The tooth is then sealed either the same day, or a few days later depending on the dentist’s preference and if a severe infection needs to be further treated before the tooth can be sealed. A sealer paste and a rubber compound are put into the root canal and the access hole is filled.
If the tooth was extremely infected or very badly decayed, a crown or other restoration procedures may need to be completed after a root canal to restore the integrity of the tooth and prevent further damage.
If you want to know more information about root canals, or are experiencing pain that you think might be associated with an infected or decayed root canal, please contact the professionals at DentaLux to discuss root canal options today!