A root canal is a treatment administered to a badly infected or decayed tooth. Severe tooth decay may irritate, inflame and infect the tooth’s nerve and pulp.
A crack, chip, large filling, or repeated dental procedures can also expose the nerves on the gum causing severe pain. One may have a swollen face or mouth when the infection remains unattended for many days. Root canal treatment protects a tooth from further damage and infections.
Quick facts about root canal therapy
- It is carried on the pulp of a tooth, thus the term root canal.
- The root canal treatment involves the removal of the tooth’s nerve in the pulp.
- It is a pain-relieving treatment and not as painful as perceived.
- Root canal is also referred to as endodontic therapy.
- A root canal is the better option than pulling out a tooth and replacing it with a crown or bridge.
- Root canal, also known as the pulp, is a part of the tooth that houses the blood cells, nerve tissue and other cells
- Root canal is the term used to refer to the endodontic procedure that intrudes “the inside of the tooth”.
Why does the tooth pulp have to be removed?
When a tooth’s pulp is damaged, it breaks down, allowing the multiplication of bacteria within the pulp chamber. The bacteria, food particles can cause an abscessed tooth.
An abscess is a pus-filled pocket at the root of the tooth. It forms when an infection covers the entire root and extends beyond it. An infected root canal can also cause:
- The infection may also cause swelling of the face, neck and head.
- Loss of the bone around the tip of the root
- Severe and unattended infection may cause drainage issues extending from the root, resulting into a hole through the cheek.
Signs that a root canal is urgently required
A routine oral clinic is recommended every six months. During the appointment, the dentist may detect minor issues such as decay and rectify them in time. However, if you’ve skipped these regular checkups, the following signs may be an indication that a root canal is needed:
- Searing pain when chewing or biting
- Tooth sensitivity that lingers on a sudden change of extreme temperatures
- Pimples or rashes on the gum
- A cracked or chipped tooth
- A swollen, painful gum
- Darkened or decayed gum
What to expect in a root canal session
Root canal is not a one-off treatment instead it is a therapy that may last up to three sessions.
- Cleaning up-A local anesthesia is administered to help the dentist to clean up all the debris clogged in the pulp without causing pain to the patient. A small access hole is made on the tooth’s surface to help remove diseased pulp using small dental files.
- Filling the root canal-The pulp is decontaminated and then adhesive cement is applied to seal the canals completely. The tooth is dead because the nerves have been removed.
- Adding the crown- Even after a root canal, a tooth needs protection because it’s rendered brittle and sensitive. Adding a crown is the last step during root canal therapy. Once the crown is filled, a patient can chew and bite with that part of the tooth.
If you need a root canal, you can reach our Tucson Emergency Dental office at 520-624-8535 or visit us at First Dental Center, west side of Tucson, Midvale Park, close to the Drexel Heights.