Hearing the phrase “root canal” can be enough to strike nervousness in most dental patients. Fears of the process itself and lingering pain might cause patients to avoid the procedure altogether. In reality, a root canal will save teeth from damage and decay.
What Is A Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is a type of dental procedure that focuses on the inside of the tooth. In the dental world, this is known as an endodontic procedure.
Explained by the American Association of Endodontics, “Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment.”
Dental Diagram Explained:
Enamel is the term for the hard, outer layer of the tooth. Underneath enamel, there is another strong layer called dentin. The pulp chamber holds soft tissue, and stretches from the crown to the root. Inside the pulp chamber, blood vessels, nerves, and tissue are contained. The components that make up the pulp chamber give the other teeth layers moisture, and are the reason why we feel heat or cold on our teeth when we eat and drink. A dentist or endodontist performing a root canal works on the tooth’s pulp chamber. A root canal procedure is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected.
Causes of pulp inflammation and infection include:
- Decay of external layers
- Damage from cracking or chipping teeth
- Tooth disease
Before deciding you need root canal treatment, consult with a dentist or endodontist for a confirmation.
Root Canal Symptoms: When Do You Need A Root Canal?
Signs of a root canal that should lead you to make an appointment with a dentist are available below.
Pain in teeth may manifest deep in the bones of your teeth, or on the surface of the crown. If there is a persistent pain in the tooth that either never goes away, or reliably keeps returning, it could be a sign you need a root canal.
However, tooth pain could be a symptom of a number of different dental conditions, which is why the initial dental consultation is so important.
When pulp tissue becomes infected, it can spread to the tip of the roots where it reaches the gums. Swollen gums near a tooth feeling persistent pain can be a symptom of root canal.
Another symptom includes what is known as a gum boil, which looks like a pimple on the gums. This arises as a result of the infection within the tooth’s roots.
Pain and sensitivity from food and drink is often a symptom of root canal. After drinking hot coffee or sipping on iced tea, sensitivity may arise in aches or sharp pains. If the pain extends for a longer period, it could be time for a root canal treatment.
Temperature sensitivity might also coincide with pain from touching the tooth.
Chipped or Cracked Teeth
Accidents happen, which can lead to teeth being chipped or cracked. When this occurs, bacteria is more likely to reach the inner layers of the teeth, causing infection and inflammation.
Tooth injuries can also target the nerves within the teeth, even if there are no visible signs of chipping or cracking. If nerves become inflamed, it can result in pain and sensitivity.
Damage done to the internal tissues of a tooth causes a lack of blood supply, causing the external layers to become a grayish color. Teeth may also become loose. Discoloration may be a result of many conditions, and should be examined by a professional.
Root Canal Treatment
With over 40,000 root canals performed each day, there is no need to avoid the procedure. In fact, receiving necessary root canal treatment will eliminate pain in the end rather than create more.
Depending on the severity of the treatment needed, a root canal can be accomplished in one to three sessions with your doctor. The process will include:
- Infected Tissue Removal: After your dentist examines the tooth, they will numb the surrounding area or provide local anesthesia. The dentist will then create a hole through the crown in order to access the pulp chamber. Here, they will remove the dead and infected pulp tissue from the chamber.
- Fill in the Tooth: After the pulp chamber is cleaned and decontaminated, the next step is fill the root canal. Using a rubber-based material, the dentist fills the pulp chamber and seals the tooth with adhesive cement.Since nerves and tissue are removed and the rubber material takes their place, patients will no longer have sensation in the tooth after the treatment.
- Crown or Filling: After a root canal treatment, the tooth will be more fragile than before since the tooth no longer has pulp. Because of this, the dentist will implement a crown or filling to provide more protection on the tooth.
At Maxus Dental, we perform root canal therapy to patients experiencing symptoms of inflammation or infection. Schedule an appointment with us in order to determine if you are a proper candidate for the procedure.