A root canal is a dental treatment done to save a tooth by removing a damaged or inflamed nerve. It is often an alternative to extraction. The visible part of the tooth is the hard enamel. Beneath it is a softer substance called dentin, and beneath that is the pulp that contains nerves and blood vessels, some of which go all the way down the roots of the teeth. In severe cases of tooth decay, the pulp gets infected. During a root canal, the dentist will remove the inflamed pulp.
What happens during a root canal?
Root canals are performed by a dentist or a specialist called an endodontist who concentrates on treating disorders of the pulp. If they suspect the patient might need a root canal, they will start by examining the affected tooth and taking an X-ray of it.
If the patient is very scared, the dentist may provide an anti-anxiety medication or an oral sedative. In most cases, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic. They will remove the infected parts. The dentist will disinfect the remaining part of the tooth and fill the canals and pulp chamber with a rubbery filling to strengthen the tooth. The dentist will further protect the tooth by implanting a crown or filling. The treated tooth will work like a normal tooth afterward.
Why would somebody need a root canal?
People need root canals when they develop an infection or inflammation of the pulp inside their teeth. That infection can have a variety of causes that include the following:
- Extensive decay
- Crack or chip in the tooth
- Tooth weakened by multiple dental procedures
- Defective crown
If the infection or inflammation goes untreated, it can lead to pain or an abscess. The inflammation or infection won’t go away on its own; it will just get worse and cause more problems.
How can you tell if you might need a root canal?
While some patients don’t experience any symptoms, most experience at least some of the following:
- Prolonged sensitivity to cold or heat
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Sensitivity to chewing or touch
- Swelling around the affected tooth
- Tenderness and drainage of the neighboring lymph glands
- Other gum and bone problems
Benefits of undergoing a root canal
A root canal enables the dentist to save the tooth and protect neighboring teeth and tissues from the infection. It is actually less complicated than an extraction which would require the dentist to make and install an implant to replace the lost tooth. The patient would have to schedule follow-up appointments to have the implant fitted and installed.
Contrary to the stereotype, a root canal is actually less uncomfortable than a tooth extraction. If the patient follows practices good dental hygiene, their treated tooth can last the rest of their life.
The crowns and fillings used in root canals are tooth-colored and thus look quite natural. The treated tooth will look like the rest of the patient’s teeth.
Contact us today at Parkwood Dental in Bradenton, FL to schedule your consultation.