A root canal is a common dental procedure that many face at least once in their lives. Despite the negative buzz surrounding root canals, when the need arises, it is an essential procedure for maintaining the health and wellness of your teeth and mouth.
The basics of root canal
A root canal is also known as endodontic treatment or root canal therapy is a procedure that removes bacteria from the root canals of the tooth. The pulp is a soft tissue that resides inside your teeth, behind the hard layer of dentin. The pulp is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. When a tooth is in its infancy, pulp allows its roots to grow properly. However, an adult tooth is capable of surviving without its pulp. If pulp becomes infected, it requires removal. During a root canal, the infected or inflamed pulp is removed to save the tooth.
A root canal is generally necessary when a tooth is experiencing extreme decay due to bacterial infection. Once the infected elements are removed, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and sealed, preserving the natural tooth.
Millions of root canals are performed annually and while they can be necessary across all age ranges, the demographic affected the most are adults. They ultimately relieve tooth pain and holistically improve your oral hygiene, helping to prevent gum disease when you practice an effective at-home oral hygiene regimen and visit your dentist twice yearly for check-ups and cleanings.
Why get a root canal?
If an infected tooth remains untreated, the ramifications are both dangerous and incredibly painful. If the dental pulp becomes inflamed, it causes immense pressure from inside the tooth, causing significant discomfort and damaging the structure of the tooth.
If the pulp is severely infected, the infection can spread to the gums and tissue surrounding the tooth. In this case, a painful abscess can form along the gum tissue that threatens the health of your entire mouth.
It is in your best interest to treat your teeth before these abscesses form or get treatment as soon as possible if you notice pimple-like spots on your gums, as these are abscesses beginning to form.
If you get your root canal before the bacteria spreads, you can reduce the amount of discomfort you experience and keep your mouth healthy.
How to know if you need a root canal
Here are a few situations that qualify for a root canal procedure to ensure the health of your teeth and mouth.
- Intense pain while chewing. If you are experiencing deep pain in your tooth with biting down and chewing food, this may be a sign that the pulp in your tooth has become infected, requiring a root canal to rectify.
- Pimples on the gums. These are signs of early abscess growth, meaning an infection is spreading from your tooth to your gums.
- Damaged tooth. If your tooth is cracked or chipped, you may require a root canal.
- Sensitivity. If you feel abnormal irritation in your tooth due to hot or cold temperatures, this is another sign that the inner tooth may be infected.
- Swelling in your gums around your teeth. This is another sign that an infection had spread from a tooth that requires root canal treatment.
- Darkening. If your tooth and gums darken, this means that the infection has caused decay to set in. In this case, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.
Root canal treatment and restoration
Home remedies and medicine do not combat root canal infections. Root canal therapy is the only viable treatment option.
During a root canal, an opening will be created in the tooth, allowing for the removal of the infected pulp. Mild discomfort after treatment is common, but your dentist will provide you with post-operative instructions such as taking over the counter or prescribed pain medication to help alleviate any tenderness.
The restorative stage typically involves getting a temporary filling until a crown can be fitted. A dental crown restores the integrity, strength, and function of your tooth as well as the aesthetics.
If you are experiencing a toothache or any signs of an infected tooth, contact Owen’s Cosmetic and Family Dentistry as a matter of urgency. Call today at (248)-671-4350 or visit us online to schedule an appointment.