Dental Health and Root Canals
In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you would probably lose that tooth. Today, with endodontic therapy, also known as a root canal, your tooth can be saved - and your smile! A root canal is a relatively painless treatment which aims at clearing infection, as well as protecting the tooth from subsequent infections.
What is the purpose of a root canal?
A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory - to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day to day functioning of the tooth.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and can cause infection. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This not only puts your jawbones at risk for injury, but it is also detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Teeth that require endodontic therapy do not always feel painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include:
- Severe toothache
- Pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- Dark discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
What happens during a root canal?
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits, during which the affected tissue is removed. After the tissue is removed, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed.
Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, we may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect it from breakage. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Most teeth can be saved by a root canal. However, tooth extraction may be necessary if:
- Roots are severely fractured
- The tooth does not have adequate bone support
- The tooth cannot be restored
- Root canals are not accessible
Endodontic therapy is intended to help save your tooth from extraction. Missing teeth can make you self-conscious, affect your ability to bite and chew, cause other healthy teeth to shift, and have a negative impact on your overall health.
Contact our practice for more information. By choosing to receive a root canal, you are choosing to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come.