Root Canal therapy, also known as Endodontic treatment, is simply removing the center portion/pulp of the tooth. Many times a root canal is indicated when the tooth is painfully sensitive to hot or cold, discoloration of the tooth, or swelling or tenderness to gums. Without the pulp, the tooth will have no discomfort as the pulp consists of the nerves and the blood supply to the tooth.
It is important to remove the pulp, or infection can start at the apex of the root and spread to other parts of your face. Swelling in surrounding areas will cause the loss of bone around the tooth. The nerve/pulp and tooth can be damaged in a number of ways:
- Deep decay
- Cracking or chipping of a tooth,
- Facial trauma
- Multiple dental procedures on a single tooth.
What to expect during a Root Canal
During root canal therapy, the dentist gently removes the infected pulp, cleans the space where the infection was, and seals the area. If the Dentist thinks there is too much infection, medication will be placed into the canal space to help remove bacteria from the tooth and a temporary is placed to protect the tooth. After a few weeks the dentist will complete the root canal.
Back teeth that receive root canals should have a dental crown placed on them in order to strengthen the remaining tooth structure.
When to contact a dentist:
If you notice severe pain or prolonged sensitivity in a tooth from hot, cold, chewing, discoloration of the tooth, or swelling around the tooth.