A root canal is a dental treatment that saves a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. The treatment involves removing the infected or decayed pulp tissue from the tooth, cleaning the inside of the tooth, then filling and sealing it.
What is a root canal?
Often, people use the terms “root canal” and “cavity” interchangeably when describing problems with their teeth. However, they are two very different things and require different treatments. While a cavity can be treated with fillings or crowns, the damaged or infected pulp of a tooth requires treatment from your dentist in order to save the tooth and keep your mouth healthy and functional. When left untreated, an infected tooth can lead to further oral health problems, including periodontal disease, bone degeneration and more. This is why it is important to see a dental professional at the first sign of trouble.
If you suspect that you may have a cavity, schedule a check-up with your dental team for a diagnosis. If you are experiencing severe pain in your teeth or gums, or if your tooth has become discolored or loose, contact your dentist immediately for an examination. A dentist can determine whether or not you need a root canal procedure based on a thorough physical examination.
Signs of A Root Canal Infection?
- Severe and persistent toothache
- Swollen, tender gums
- A pimple on the gums
- Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
- Constant pain in the tooth, jawbone, or neck
- Difficulty in chewing
How Do Teeth Become Diseased And Infected?
Cavities are one of the most common reasons for the need for a root canal. Many patients think of cavities as small holes in a tooth, but they can be much deeper than that. Sometimes, they go all the way down to the root. This is when the infection becomes dangerous. The nerve of the tooth can become inflamed or infected if plaque gets lodged in the hole and isn’t removed. This can lead to swelling, severe pain, and a life-threatening abscess. A root canal can get rid of the source of the pain and the infection before it can cause more serious problems.
Although having a root canal is often the best option for relieving the pain, there are some cases where it may be better to remove the tooth completely. If the tooth has a severe crack in it that extends to the root, it may not be possible to save the tooth with a root canal. In this case, removing the tooth may be the best choice to prevent an infection or serious complication.
How Is A Root Canal Typically Performed?
During a root canal, your dentist will numb the affected tooth and surrounding area with a local anesthetic. Using specialized instruments, they’ll remove the infected pulp and clean out the tooth’s canals. Then, they will pack the area with gutta-percha, a substance that helps prevent reinfections. Finally, your endodontist will place a crown on the tooth to restore its function and appearance.
Typically, the recovery process from a root canal is fairly straightforward. Some patients may experience minor pain after the procedure, but this is easily treated with over-the-counter pain medications and should subside in a few days. To help prevent future infections, it’s recommended that you practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. This will help remove plaque buildup that can harbor bacteria and lead to further infection.
If you are interested in learning more about root canal treatment, call Rosemont Dental in Frederick, MD, at (301) 663-114 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Askari.