What is a root canal?
A root canal (also known as endodontic treatment) is a safe and effective dental procedure during which a dentist removes the damaged pulp from the interior of the tooth, preventing the need for a tooth extraction.
The nerve's sole purpose is to convey the feeling of hot or cold temperatures once a tooth has broken through the gums. Since the nerve's removal will not affect the tooth's ability to perform its function, it is preferable to do so.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
A root canal procedure usually involves one to three visits to your dental office, depending on how severe the damage is.
First, the dentist removes the affected tissue and cleans the interior of the tooth. The tooth is then sealed and filled with a composite material. If your tooth had extensive decay, your dentist may place a dental crown to strengthen and protect the tooth.
Why do I need a root canal?
Bacteria may enter a cracked or deeply decayed tooth, infecting the interior and leading to further decay. If an abscess is not treated, it may eventually harm your jawbones and overall oral health, causing pain, swelling, and possible abscess formation.
In these cases, the solution is often to remove the infected tooth nerve with a root canal.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
A root canal is typically required when a patient has a severe toothache, gum swelling, or extreme tooth sensitivity. By removing the damaged tissue, these symptoms are quickly and easily treated.
Only your dentist can determine if a root canal will be an appropriate treatment. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your dentist.
Do root canals hurt?
Since patients are given anesthesia, a root canal isn’t more painful than other dental procedures, like getting a filling or having a wisdom tooth removed.
Following the procedure, there's a chance you'll feel a little sore or numb, and you might feel a little uncomfortable for a few days. Nevertheless, you can get assistance from your dentist with pain management, and most post-procedure pain can be comfortably and quickly managed.
How to prevent a root canal
To prevent the need for a root canal, it’s important to follow the same dental hygiene habits that help prevent cavities and other tooth problems. To keep your teeth healthy, you should follow these guidelines:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss between each tooth at least once a day
- Use fluoride toothpaste or a fluoride rinse
- Visit your dentist for checkups every six months
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist at least once per year
- Be mindful of how much refined carbs and sugary foods you consume. It's common for these foods to stick to your teeth. Try to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out as soon as possible after consuming sugary foods