What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure used to repair a tooth that has been badly damaged, decayed, or infected by bacteria. A root canal is necessary when the nerve (pulp) (a small, thread-like tissue and the soft area within the center of the tooth) becomes infected. A traumatic injury to a tooth can also compromise the pulp.
There are many things that cause an infected pulp (thus causing the need for a root canal). Some of the most common needs for a root canal are:
- Infected tooth due to decay or injury
- Chronic tooth pain from contact with hot and cold liquids
- Tooth pain from heavy clenching
If left untreated, an infection in the pulp of a tooth can cause swelling that can spread to other areas of the face, neck, and head, can cause bone loss around the root of the tooth and cause the tooth to become loose. If the infection spreads out of control a person may need to be hospitalized and put on I.V. antibiotics to control the infection.
Advantages to Root Canals
Root canal therapy is an excellent way to save a tooth that would otherwise die and need to be removed. In fact, root canal therapy is designed to save a problem tooth; before the procedure was developed and gained acceptance, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was an extraction.
Root Canal Procedure
A root canal procedure happens over one to three visits. During the first visit, a small access opening is made through the top of the tooth and into the inner chamber. The infected nerve tissue is removed, the inner chamber is cleaned and disinfected, and the nerve canals are reshaped. The newly cleaned chamber and canals are filled with an elastic material and sealer to prevent infection. The access opening is temporarily filled until a permanent restoration such as a crown is placed.
Most patients who have root canal therapy experience little to no discomfort or pain, and enjoy a healthy tooth that can function just as the original.
What to Expect After a Root Canal
Your tooth will not look any different than the surrounding teeth because a crown or filling is placed over the treated tooth. Root canal therapy has a high success rate and can last almost as long as the original.
Schedule an Appointment
If you feel you may need a root canal, call us to schedule an appointment today at (734) 464-8020.