What is a Root Canal?
Endodontic treatment, also known as a root canal, is a procedure that tries to save and repair a badly infected or decayed tooth. The need for a root canal usually stems from infected or inflamed tooth pulp. The nerve and pulp of a tooth can become irritated as a result of cracks, chips, or other trauma to the tooth. If this occurs, it is important to treat it as it can lead to an abscessed tooth. A root canal infection can also cause bone loss around the root’s tip as well as swelling to other areas.
When is a Root Canal Necessary?
In order to determine if a root canal is necessary, we start with a consultation examination. During that appointment, we will be able to determine if a root canal is necessary or not for a patient. Here are a few of the signs that may signal a root canal is necessary:
- Chewing or the application of pressure causes severe tooth pain.
- Increased sensitivity to heat and cold.
- Tooth discoloration.
- Surrounding gums are swelled up and tender.
It is important to understand that in some cases, there may be no symptoms present. As a result, it is vital to have regular check-ups in case there is infected pulp present in a patient.
What Does a Root Canal Procedure Involve?
A root canal procedure can require multiple office visits depending on the severity of the case. First, a patient must have x-rays taken in order to see what the infection looks like. From there, the patient will be numbed through a local anesthesia. Throughout the procedure, the dentist uses a rubber dam to keep the area around the tooth dry. Once an access hole is drilled into the tooth, the dentist can begin removing debris and decayed nerve tissue. Once it is all removed, the tooth is flushed out, cleaned, and sealed. Typically, the interior of the tooth receives some sort of filling as well.