Everything You Need to Know about Root Canals

Did you know?

  • Root canal therapy is widely thought to be a painful procedure but is a pain-relieving treatment.
  • It is used to remove nerves from a tooth’s pulp.
  • It is also called endodontic therapy.
  • It costs less than having a tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge or crown.

What is Root Canal?

Also known as the endodontic procedure, root canals are common procedures dentists use to salvage teeth that may require to be pulled out. A tooth’s nerve is of vital importance to its health and function. To save the tooth; the nerve and pulp are removed through a root canal procedure, while the inside is cleaned and sealed. Instead of leaving the gum around the tooth to become infected, the dentist removes the dental pulp, and as the absence of a nerve doesn’t affect the daily functioning of the tooth, the patient avoids tooth extraction.

What is the Pulp of a Tooth?

In the center of a tooth, there is a soft living tissue we call dental pulp. It lies just beneath the dentin and enamel and contains the dental nerves and blood supply. In case the tooth surface gets breached, bacteria may invade the pulp, causing an infection inside the tooth.

The pulp extends all the way to the tip of the root of a tooth, and although it’s needed for the tooth’s growth and development, a tooth can survive without it after it is matured. On the other hand, if the pulp gets infected (due to a crack within a tooth, dental decay, overuse, or trauma to a tooth), a root canal can be the only option for relieving the pain caused by the infection.

Symptoms of Infected or Damaged Pulp

If you experience symptoms such as darkening of the tooth, tooth pain, increased sensitivity to temperature changes, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes, or feel a pimple-like bump or an abscess on the gum near the tooth, the problem may need to be treated endodontically. If not treated, the swelling may spread to the face, neck, or head, while the drainage from the tooth can go into gums or through the cheek into the skin.

Is the Root Canal Procedure Painful?

Thanks to modern anesthetics and techniques, most patients remain comfortable during the procedure.

After the treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive for a few days, mainly if there was an infection or pain before the procedure. With some prescription or over-the-counter medications, this discomfort can be relieved. In case you feel severe pain or pressure lasting more than a few days, be sure to call your dentist.

Can We Treat All Teeth Endodontically?

Most teeth can be treated endodontically. If the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support, is severely fractured, or the root canals are not accessible, then the tooth can’t be saved. Thanks to significant advances in endodontics, it is possible to keep a tooth that a few years ago would have been lost. Patients may turn to endodontic surgery if the endodontic treatment is not sufficient enough to save the tooth.

To receive the right root canal treatment, visit a dentist office with the proper certifications. Dental Specialties Institute, Inc. was founded in 2000 by Suzie Dault (RDAEF, CDA, OMSAA, BS) and is a provider of high-quality education for Dental Assistants in California. We are approved by the Dental Board of California and the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.