A root canal procedure can help save a tooth that is seriously damaged or heavily decayed. The procedure removes all the infected tissue from the inside of the tooth and restores the tooth itself so it remains usable. Typically, the tooth is then fitted with a dental crown.
Reasons for a Root Canal
The root canal is the portion of the tooth beneath the enamel and dentin. It is a hollow area filled with soft tissue such as connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. This tissue is called the pulp. A crack in the hard, outside portions of the tooth can allow bacteria to infiltrate the root canal, leading to infection. Root canal therapy treats this infection and allows you to keep the tooth. Otherwise, it would have to be removed.
Typical problems that can lead to root canal therapy include:
- Extreme decay that compromises the enamel and dentin layers
- Cracks in the teeth
- Broken-off teeth
- Infection in the root or the tooth’s interior
This kind of damage can occur due to trauma, placement or removal and replacement of large fillings, wear and tear, or untreated cavities. Usually, you’ll experience extreme discomfort or extreme sensitivity in the tooth, sometimes accompanied by swelling or blisters on the gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit your dental office for an evaluation.
How Root Canal Therapy Works
Root canal therapy is typically performed by an endodontist, which is a dentist who specializes in treating the tooth pulp. It can be performed in the dental office, and is similar to having a tooth filled. The dentist uses special tools called files, which come in various sizes to reach all the areas inside the tooth, which can be quite small. A hole is drilled in the tooth, then the soft tissue inside is completely removed, including the nerve that serves the individual tooth.
The now-hollow tooth is filled with a special resin and the tooth is prepared for a dental crown. After full restoration with the crown, the tooth will be completely usable, although it will no longer be able to sense temperature or pressure because of the removal of the nerve.
Root canals aren’t the bad guys. Call us today to schedule an appointment and take care of your tooth pain today!