Root canal treatment, or endodontic therapy, is performed to repair and save teeth that have become severely infected or inflamed. The procedure involves removing the damaged portion of the inside of a tooth, which includes soft pulp tissue. Following treatment, the restored tooth can continue to function just like the remaining natural teeth.
It is very important to treat an infected or damaged tooth as soon as possible in order to prolong the life and use of the tooth. Without treatment, an abscess can form, which can lead to a painful, potentially life-threatening infection that can spread to other parts of the body.
Signs You Need a Root Canal
There are many reasons why your dentist may recommend root canal treatment. Common problems that affect the root of a tooth include a large fracture or crack in the tooth, advanced tooth decay or deep cavities, and severe or repeated tooth trauma that damages the nerves.
The following signs may indicate that you need a root canal:
- Frequent and persistent tooth and gum pain, ranging from moderate to severe
- Tooth pain that interrupts sleep
- Extreme sensitivity to heat, cold and pressure
- Discoloration of the tooth
- A swelling or abscess on the gum, sometimes with a pus-like discharge
- Signs of decay, such as large cavities and cracks in the teeth
Root Canal Procedure
What does a root canal look like? Will it hurt? While root canals have a reputation for being painful, treating an infected tooth root through endodontics is both stress-free and relatively painless, thanks to modern anesthetics and gentle techniques. In fact, most patients report that a root canal is no more painful than having a filling placed.
The entire root canal procedure typically requires two or more visits to our office. Treatment begins with the endodontist, or root canal specialist, taking X-rays of your mouth and determining whether a root canal is the best course of treatment. If it is, the root canal specialist will numb the affected tooth by administering local anesthetic. A small opening is then made through the top of the tooth, and small dental instruments fit into the channels, or canals, through which the tooth’s nerves are connected. The diseased pulp is then removed from the passageways to prevent future infections.
Once the infected pulp and nerve tissue have been removed, the endodontist will disinfect, clean and shape the space for a nonreactive, biocompatible filling material, which seals the canals. At your final visit, you will have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
Learn More About Root Canal Treatment Today
Treating an infected tooth is not only recommended, it is absolutely vital to save the infected tooth and preserve its use so that you can eat, smile and talk normally — and without pain. Most teeth repaired by root canal procedures even last as long as natural teeth. At Grove Dental, our endodontists are experts in root canal dentistry, performing hundreds of root canals each year. If you have questions about root canals or are ready to request an appointment, contact Grove Dental today.