Root canal therapy – commonly referred to simply as “a root canal” – is a procedure that allows a damaged of infected tooth to be saved by removing the infected root. For many, the mere thought of a root canal procedure is enough to cause anxiety and heart palpitations. But thanks to modern dentistry techniques, painful root canals are a thing of the past. If you have a toothache, your dentist may advise that you have a root canal. Here is some more information on when a root canal may be necessary.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
The root is housed inside the tooth. The outside, white layer of that tooth is the enamel; beneath that is the hard-layered dentin under which is the soft tissue pulp. The pulp contains the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that reaches from the inside of the crown to the root’s tip, connecting with the surrounding tissue. When the inside of the tooth or pulp becomes inflamed due to infection, then a root canal may be in order. The pulp is necessary for development, but once the hard tissue of the tooth is fully developed, it can get along without the pulp. And since the tooth receives everything it needs for nourishment from the surrounding tissue, removing the infected root or pulp can save the tooth.
When is a root canal is necessary?
An infection most often occurs when the tooth is compromised by decay. A tooth may also become compromised when it cracks or chips, or if a dental procedure doesn’t go properly. Left untreated, the tooth can abscess at which time the tooth may be too far gone to save. There are only two choices for patients who have a severe tooth infection – they can have the tooth pulled or have a root canal. A root canal is the best option for saving a tooth that has been severely compromised. Too often, the infection spreads to other teeth. As such, early treatment is key.
Root canal: what to expect
To save the tooth, the dentist of endodontist (a dentist who specializes in diseases of the pulp and its surrounding tissues) removes the inflamed pulp and then thoroughly cleans the inside of the tooth, removing the decay and what’s left over from the infection. The now-hollow tooth will be filled with a substance called gutta-percha. Once the rubbery-like substance is inserted into the shell of the tooth, a crown or filling is attached so that the tooth looks, feels and functions like any other healthy tooth.
At one time, root canal therapy was painful and one of the main reasons patients avoided seeing the dentist. Thanks to anesthesia and recent advancements in dentistry, there’s virtually no pain during the procedure. In fact, most patients experience less pain following a root canal than they would if they were to have the tooth extracted.
Who can live with a toothache? Plus, the possibility of losing one’s tooth due to infection makes root canal a very viable – and painless – option to sustain a healthy smile. If you live or work in the greater Henderson area, you’re welcome to visit Dedicated Dental Care, where you can make a same-day appointment. To request an appointment, simply call 702-566-5509. We look forward to a lifelong relationship of great dental health.