This article explains what a root canal is, why they can be necessary and what you can expect from the procedure.
It happens. Whether it is due to a lack of regular visits to your dentist, too much of a sweet tooth or just plain wear and tear, there comes a time for many when we might face needing a root canal. It’s not a trip to the fair, but it is a lot more fun than dealing with the consequences of avoiding one. In order to provide a step-by step account of the entire process, it’s best to start at the very beginning by determining what symptoms to look out for as a sign that you might be in need of a root canal.
How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?
Sometimes, a root canal may be needed but no symptoms present themselves. In other cases, patients could experience severe toothache and sensitivity. According to the dentist in Colorado Springs you can’t assume anything until a dental expert has seen you. He or she will determine, via a clinical examination and X-ray, what your next course of action should be.
However the following list of signs may present themselves:
- Severe toothache: Experiencing pain while chewing or applying pressure may be a sign of decayed or infected teeth.
- Swelling and Tenderness: If you notice that your gums are swollen and sore, it is likely that you have a bacterial infection.
- Prolonged sensitivity: Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, which lasts after the hot or cold has been removed.
- Discoloration: The darkening of a tooth caused by decay.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is a treatment that repairs and saves teeth that have either become badly decayed or infected or are at an increased risk of becoming so. ‘Root canal’ refers to the natural cavity/cavities within the center of the tooth. The pulp is the soft tissue within the root canal and the tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal. During the procedure the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, sterilized and re-sealed. There’s no need to worry about the missing nerve, as it is not necessary to a tooth’s health or function after it has emerged from the gums in childhood.
Why Should the Tooth Pulp and Nerve Be Removed?
If the tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp becomes exposed as a result of accidental trauma or bacteria decay of its protective housing structure (the tooth), it becomes exceptionally vulnerable to bacteria, which begin to proliferate. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth can also become infected and painful abscesses (the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth) may form.
Allowing the problem to progress may cause a number of complications, such as inflammation that can extend to other areas of the face, neck, or head; bone loss around the tip of the root and drainage problems extending outward from the root. To avoid these painful and potentially dangerous problems, Colorado Springs dentist suggests a simple procedure.
So, What Can I Expect From a Root Canal?
The first step in your procedure would be to have an X-ray taken in order to determine the shape of your root canals and resolve whether there are signs of infection in a surrounding bone. Your dentist will then use a local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth/teeth in question. An access hole will be drilled into the tooth, at which point your dentist will remove all pulp along with bacteria, decayed nerve tissue and related debris from within your tooth. Using root canal files, the tooth will be professionally cleaned, whilst water is used to periodically flush away debris. Once the tooth is successfully cleaned and free of infection, it is sealed. The final step may involve further restoration of the tooth, according to Colorado Springs dentists, but this will be discussed with you during your appointment.