What is a Root Canal?
Root canals, also called endodontic therapy, are fairly common procedures, and the experience is similar to having a tooth filled. Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile. A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth. Inside your tooth is a soft area known as the pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. Though the pulp normally provides a tooth with nutrients, it can also become infected. When this occurs, the pulp dies. The term “root canal” comes from cleaning of the canals inside the tooth’s root.
Why is a Root Canal Necessary?
The common causes affecting the pulp are a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, repeated dental treatment to the tooth or trauma. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp), cleaning and disinfecting it and then filling and sealing it
A Root canal procedure removes the dead pulp in order to:
- Eliminate disease or decay – The infection from a diseased or dead pulp can cause pain, health problems, and teeth loss.
- Prevent future infections – If not completely removed, the infection can remain and spread.
- Save a tooth – In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased pulp, it was usually extracted. Now, root canals can help you keep that tooth. Even teeth with significant damage from disease or accident can be saved with root canals, and can last for the rest of your life.
What are some signs for a Root Canal need?
An infection usually provides some warning signs. If the pulp of your tooth has become diseased, you may:
- Suffer pain.
- Feel prolonged or increased sensitivity to heat or cold or pressure.
- See a discoloration or a large cavity.
- Experience a foul taste in your mouth, even after brushing.
- Notice pus that drains into your mouth.
- Experience swollen or tender lymph nodes.
Sometimes, there are no noticeable symptoms, but your dentist may discover the infection during a routine visit. This is why it’s important to attend your regular dental appointments and at the first signs of any concerns to contact your dentist right away. Remember, the earlier we can catch a problem, the more likely we can save your tooth. It’s also more likely that you’ll require less extensive treatment.
And though many people are afraid that root canals will be painful, most of our patients are pleasantly surprised to feel little or no pain. In fact, a recent endodontic survey showed that patients who had root canals were six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who had not experienced the treatment.
Is it necessary to get a crown after a root canal?
After root canal treatment, a tooth may be significantly reduced in structure. More importantly, the most integral tissues for the health of the tooth have been removed. Dental crowns are therefore often necessary to restore and protect the tooth as much as possible.