Many people fear visiting the dentist so much, so they ignore tooth pain and discomfort until it’s absolutely necessary to seek help. Often by this stage, the issue is much more serious and requires more complex treatment.
Root canal treatment, or endotherapy, is one of the dental procedures that those with dental anxiety tread. However, you needn’t worry about this treatment; it’s much less scary than you might imagine and could mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth.
What is a Root Canal?
Although you may think that a root canal is only the name of a dental procedure, it is actually part of the tooth structure. The tooth is made of two principal components, the crown, the part you see, and the root, which extends into the jawbone, anchoring the tooth in position.
The tooth’s structure can be further broken down into four elements:
- The enamel-the hard outer layer.
- The dentine- the main body of the tooth under the enamel, made from a softer material.
- The centum- the hard outer layer of the root.
- The dental pulp- the soft tissue at the tooth’s center that houses the nerves and blood vessels.
The root canal system is a passage from the crown to the root, including the dental pulp.
Why Might You Need Root Canal Therapy?
A root canal procedure is usually needed when bacteria causes an infection in the root canal itself, the dental pulp. This usually happens due to tooth decay, a damaged tooth after a trauma (for example, a cracked tooth), and leaky fillings.
Your dentist will use an advanced x-ray to assess if your tooth pulp has been infected by the bacteria; if so, you will need a root canal to stop the pulp from dying.
What Are Root Canal Symptoms?
If your dental pulp is infected, the sooner you get root canal therapy, the better. Therefore it’s important to be aware of the symptoms to look out for. You should be especially vigilant if you suffer from tooth decay or have a crack or chip in a tooth. The symptoms include:
- Pain when chewing or biting.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.
- A loose tooth.
- Dull aches.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial that you visit your dentist. As the dental pulp becomes more damaged, the symptoms can subside, which often means that people forget all about it. However, the tooth pulp cannot heal itself, and more severe symptoms will start to appear. In addition to pain, many people experience:
- Swollen gums.
- Tooth discoloration.
- Facial swelling.
- Oozing pus.
It is also possible that the infection may spread to the periodontal ligament, which connects the tooth to the gum and bone. This can lead to gum disease.
The importance of receiving treatment for this issue cannot be overestimated.
Dentists That Understand
At Scott J Owens DDS Cosmetic & Family Dentists, we understand that, for some people, the idea of root canal treatment is nerve-wracking, which is why our team of experienced dental professionals work hard to put you at ease while improving your oral health.
For more information about the benefits of root canal treatment, consult with your dentist at Scott J Owens DDS Cosmetic & Family Dentists and visit the American Association of Endodontists’ website.
Call (248)626-0772 to schedule an appointment today and maintain your oral health.