ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
What is a Root Canal?
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment.
To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.
The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp, because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it. Learn more about exactly what a root canal is.
How to know if you need a Root Canal?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay repeated dental procedures on the tooth or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
What are the signs of needing a Root Canal?
There are a few symptoms that mean you might need a root canal—
Severe pain while chewing or biting
Pimples on the gums
A chipped or cracked tooth
Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the sensation has been removed
Swollen or tender gums
Deep decay or darkening of the gums
How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterward, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Will I feel pain during or after the Root Canal?
Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.
For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your endodontist’s instructions carefully.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is virtually painless and often leaves you with less discomfort during recovery than if you have your natural tooth extracted. Thanks to modern techniques and effective anesthesia, patients who experience root canals are six times more likely to describe it as painless than patients who have a tooth extracted!
When you undergo a root canal or other endodontic treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection and will continue to function like any other tooth.
Benefits of Saving the Natural Tooth
There are many clinical reasons for needing root canal treatment, but there are also countless practical reasons why saving the natural tooth is a wise choice. Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime.
Virtually Pain-Free Procedure
Root canal treatment is virtually painless and often leaves you with less discomfort during recovery than if you have your natural tooth extracted. Thanks to modern techniques and effective anesthesia, patients who experience root canals are six times more likely to describe it as painless than patients who have a tooth extracted.
Efficient & Cost-Effective
Tooth extraction can take longer than root canal treatment due to follow-up appointments required for a denture, bridge or implant; plus the cost may be higher. Most dental insurance plans cover endodontic treatment.
Visually Appealing Result
Crowns not only function like natural teeth; they look great, too. Improve your smile and laugh out loud again with root canal treatment.
Take the time to learn more about root canal treatment and some of the common misconceptions about it and then take the first step to a pain-free, healthy mouth by visiting an endodontist near you.