The primary purpose of a root canal is to remove the nerve, pulp and blood tissue from the interior canals of a tooth, usually due to infection. Without this procedure, an abscess may develop that could result in spreading infection to other tissues in the body, and ultimately illness and/or tooth loss.
An infection can occur due to a breach in a dental filling or a cracked tooth. Although discomfort often accompanies this type of infection, there can be a problem without obvious symptoms. Sensitivity to hot or cold can be a clue, but sensitivity can also occur due to gum recession and exposed root.
The only way to positively identify the need for a root canal is a visit to the dentist. Dental x-rays and other simple tests can indicate the need for endodontic therapy. Removing the interior of the canal of a tooth’s root does not jeopardize the health of the tooth as once a tooth has erupted through the gum tissue; the nerve no longer serves a necessary purpose.
Clearing out the infection then sealing the tooth can relieve the pressure and discomfort, and at the same time salvage the tooth.
The consequences of inaction can be serious. Allowed to progress, an infection can spread to other parts of the neck, throat and head. Clearing out the infection then sealing the tooth can relieve the pressure and discomfort, and at the same time salvage the tooth. Depending on the tooth treated, the entry point can be sealed with a composite resin filling, but more likely a dental crown will be the final restoration of choice.
The procedure itself involves steps such as a dental x-ray to see positioning and number of roots that must be treated, numbing the area for utmost patient comfort, isolating the tooth to prevent accidental exposure of infectious material from spreading and the patient swallowing debris removed, and the actual process of removing the interior of the tooth’s canals.
The vacated root is flushed, and in some cases treated with additional medication. To provide additional stability for the tooth, it is packed with a rubber like material to fill the cavity left behind.
The process is completed with the final restoration. The tooth has been saved allowing the patient many more years of functionality and comfort. And although the root canal has earned a reputation as a dreaded dental procedure, with modern technology and updated instrumentation, this procedure can be done quickly, safely, and with outstanding results.
If you have questions about an upcoming root canal procedure, contact our skilled team of dentists at The Dental Place to schedule a consultation.