Root Canal

A root canal is a dental procedure that can keep you from losing a permanent tooth. The dentist removes the nerve and the pulp inside the tooth and seals it to prevent the tooth or the area surrounding it from becoming infected. A root canal is often used when a tooth is badly damaged or infected, but it‚’s still rooted strongly into the bone and sturdy, to avoid having to extract a well-anchored natural tooth and use an implant or dentures as a replacement.

What is a Root Canal?

While the term root canal describes the dental procedure of removing the living part of the tooth, it‚’s also used to describe the actual cavity within the tooth. The pulp and nerves fill this cavity .

Why is a Root Canal Necessary?

If only the outside of a tooth is affected by decay , a chip or a break and the inside is still healthy, your tooth could be repaired with a filling or a crown, sometimes without a root canal. But when the inside of the tooth, the nerve or the pulp, is damaged in some way, it becomes necessary to remove it.

This damage can be caused by very deep tooth decay that has reached the inner chamber; lots of dental work on one tooth such as several fillings or even one very large one, or a crack or chip in the tooth.

When the nerves or pulp are damaged and start to die or break down, the bacteria that form within the tooth will lead to an infection within the tooth that will spread to the surrounding areas. This can also cause an abscess . An abscess is a pocket that forms at the end of the roots and fills with pus.

Not only are abscesses very painful, they do considerable damage. They cause swelling in the immediate area that can spread throughout the face and neck. The bone around the roots will start to deteriorate from the infection. And an untreated abscess can even cause the infection to spread into your bloodstream and make you ill.

When Do You Need A Root Canal?

In some cases, there are no symptoms. But usually one or more of the following symptoms will let you and your dentist know that the inner part of the tooth is damaged:

  • Pain while chewing or sometimes even just pushing against the tooth with the tongue
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold . Pain and ‚”touchiness‚” can last even after the source of heat or cold is gone for some time
  • A sore spot or tiny pustule on the gums that won‚’t go away or returns
  • A tooth that‚’s getting darker can indicate infection in the root canal
  • Gums that are swollen or tender around the tooth
  • Pain while chewing or sometimes even just pushing against the tooth with the tongue
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold . Pain and ‚”touchiness‚” can last even after the source of heat or cold is gone for some time
  • A sore spot or tiny pustule on the gums that won‚’t go away or returns
  • A tooth that‚’s getting darker can indicate infection in the root canal
  • Gums that are swollen or tender around the tooth

The dentist performing this procedure will take X-rays to look for problems and then numb the area. He‚’ll drill a hole into the tooth to remove the pulp through, and then file out the inside to clean it. The tooth will be sealed, and a tooth-shaped crown will be placed on top. These steps of a root canal are usually done over two or three dental visits.