If you found you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, in the past it probably would have been lost. Today, the root canal treatment is used to save that tooth. A root canal is a relatively simple procedure that involves one to three office visits. Best of all, a root canal can save your tooth and your smile!
Dental Health and Root Canals
What is the purpose of a root canal?
A tooth’s nerve is not crucial to it’s health or function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. The only function it has is sensory, it provides the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of your tooth.
However, when a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria is able to enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If this is left untreated, an abscess can form. If the diseased tissue is not removed, pain and swelling will occur. This will in turn affect your jawbone, and can be detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper care, your tooth will most likely have to be pulled.
What are the signs that a root canal is needed?
Signs that you might need a root canal can include severe toothache, pain when chewing or when pressure is applied, prolonged sensitivity to temperatures, a dark discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gums. Be aware because not all teeth that require root canal therapy are painful. If you experience any of these symptoms please contact your dentist.
What happens during a root canal?
If you require a root canal treatment, you will be asked to schedule one to three visits. During those visits, your endodontist or regular dentist will remove the affected tissue. After that, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned up and sealed. Lastly, the tooth will be filled with dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, your doctor might recommend putting a crown on the tooth to strengthen and protect your tooth from breakage. Your restored tooth will last a lifetime as long as you continue to care for your teeth.