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Root Canal Therapy: What Is It, When Is It Necessary, and How Is It Performed?

Jun 01, 2021

Nothing beats having natural teeth. For this reason, we consistently employ our patients to adopt proper oral habits to ensure that their smile is in tip-top shape. However, if you are a bit cavalier about it, you might have a bigger problem later.

Years ago, when you had an infection that reached the root, tooth extraction was the way to go. Today, you have the option of salvaging decayed teeth, especially if the tooth is structurally sound. Our dentist near you will make certain that your oral health is back to normal and that you don’t lose your teeth.

Fast Facts About Root Canal Therapy

The root canal is situated in the inner parts of your tooth. This part of the tooth is known as the dental pulp. The crown is covered with enamel; the white hard outer covering of the tooth protects the dental pulp.

The pulp is soft since it comprises connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels responsible for nourishing your teeth.

With proper oral care, your enamel remains sturdy and can protect the pulp for a lifetime. However, if the enamel gets weak and becomes compromised, the pulp becomes exposed. The enamel can be damaged because of any of the following reasons:

  • Long-standing cracks
  • Trauma that damages your teeth
  • Advanced periodontal disease
  • Frequent grinding of the teeth
  • Untreated tooth decay
  • Decay under a tooth filling

If the enamel is damaged, bacteria and food may gain access to the root canal. So, for our dentist to protect your teeth from more damage, root canal therapy must be performed.

In other words, the whole idea behind root canal treatment is to remove the damaged pulp, to stop further destruction of the tooth.

Is It Essential for the Pulp to Be Removed?

The accumulation of bacteria and food debris within the pulp chamber leads to inflammation and infection of the dental pulp. In no time, the gums start swelling, and pus starts forming at the root—an infection that is known as an abscess.

If the infection has gone this deep, there’s no better solution than to undergo a root canal procedure. This means that the dental pulp has to be removed.

Don’t be worried that you will be losing the dental pulp. Your teeth can still survive without the pulp, especially for adults whose teeth have already developed.

So, if the pulp remains infected or damaged, it may lead to further complications, including:

  • Swelling that can extend from the gums to the face, neck, or head
  • Bone loss at the root’s tip
  • Drainage issues that extend from the tooth’s root to the surrounding tissue

When Do You Need a Root Canal?

If any of the following signs show up, know that you should come and see our dentist for root canal treatment:

  • Sharp pain when eating
  • Darkened gums
  • Deep decay
  • Discolored teeth
  • Pimples on the gums that keep on showing up
  • Swollen gums around the infected teeth
  • Long periods of tooth sensitivity even if you aren’t exposed to cold or hot foods and drinks
  • Persistent toothache

How Is a Root Canal Carried Out?

The root canal procedure takes two dental visits and is performed as follows:

  • Step 1

The area surrounding the infected tooth will be numbed to ensure that the procedure is pain-free. Our dentist will use local anesthesia. Then, a dam will be placed around the infected tooth to keep it dry so that it stays dry throughout the procedure.

  • Step 2

A drill will be used to bore a hole so that our dentist can gain access to the pulp chamber or root canal. Our dentist will use an irrigating system to remove the damaged areas. The debris within the pulp chamber will be removed, and then the root canal will be shaped. Then, an antimicrobial rinse will be used to disinfect the root canal.

  • Step 3

A material known as the gutta-percha will be used to close the pulp chamber after the root canal has dried up. The tooth will be sealed using a temporary filling when you are waiting for your permanent crown to be ready.

  • Step 4

After a week, you can come to get the permanent crown fixed. A crown is better since it reinforces the tooth.

Contact our dentist at Compassion Smiles if you need root canal treatment.