Root canal therapy is a procedure used to clean out infection or inflammation in your tooth. This prevents your tooth from having to be replaced, making it a popular solution to a common problem. While you may have heard of this term before, you may not know what causes you to need a root canal or how the issue is solved. Gain information about root canals and other protective dental services provided by Red Bank Smiles so you can be aware when a root canal may be necessary.
Root Canal Causes
Your teeth contain a soft tissue called pulp underneath layers of enamel and dentin. This pulp is a collection of blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves that helps your teeth develop as you get older. Inflammation or infected pulp is what causes the need for a root canal. There are several ways the pulp can reach this stage, including repeated dental procedures, deep decay, and a crack or chip in your tooth. If left untreated, this pulp damage can develop into an abscess, which can cause more serious issues.
If you are experiencing inflamed or infected pulp, you may notice a few symptoms. There may be general pain or discoloration in the affected tooth. The tooth can become sensitive to cold or hot temperatures, and tender when it is touched or while you chew. Sometimes, though, you may not experience any symptoms at all. The infection can still be discovered when a radiograph of your teeth is taken during a routine checkup, which is why it is important to regularly visit your dentist.
Root Canal Procedure
The process of receiving root canal therapy is relatively simple and takes a variable amount of time to complete, depending on the tooth. To begin, the area around the affected tooth is given an anesthetic to provide numbing. An opening is created in the crown, and the dentist will clean out the root canal of the damaged pulp, while also shaping it for easy filling. The canal is usually filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. In addition, adhesive cement is applied to completely seal off the canal. A temporary filling is put on top to close the opening to the canal. After a few weeks, the dentist will replace the temporary filling with a permanent crown. While you may experience some discomfort for a few hours after the procedure, most patients find their root canal to be quick and relatively painless.
Benefits of Root Canals
In addition to alleviating the pain caused by the infected or inflamed pulp, there are a few other reasons why receiving root canal therapy is beneficial to the health of your teeth. One of the most important is the ability to save your original tooth. Keeping your tooth instead of having it pulled and replaced with an implant or bridge allows for normal chewing and biting, as well as a natural feel. This also protects the other teeth from coming out of alignment or undergoing extra strain.
Root canal treatment is also a more efficient method, both in terms of time and cost than having the tooth removed. Tooth extraction requires several appointments to take the tooth out and install a bridge or implant. Receiving a root canal should take at most two visits, limiting the amount of time you have to spend at the dentist’s office.
Stop the Pain
Now that you are aware of the details involved with root canal therapy, if you believe that you are experiencing the symptoms of the inflamed or infected pulp, make sure to visit your dentist soon to avoid long-term issues. Contact Heidi at Red Bank Smiles to schedule an appointment or browse our website to view the many other services we offer.