A root canal is a dental procedure that allows your tooth to be saved when the only other option is extraction. There are many reasons a root canal may be needed … a hairline fracture to a tooth may allow bacteria to permeate the tooth impacting the nerve; excessive tooth decay; or a traumatic event may result in damage to a tooth. Whatever the cause, your dentist will almost always recommend saving the tooth over extraction whenever possible.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal (also known as endodontic therapy) involves cleaning out the contents of each root of a tooth. Those contents include blood, pulp, and nerve tissues. When a tooth is damaged, bacteria can enter the pulp chambers leading to infection or an abscess. Removing the contents of the tooth’s roots allows your dentist to save your tooth.
Some symptoms that indicate the need for a root canal include swelling around the face, toothache, gum swelling or a pimple like sore on the gum that does not heal, and/or sensitivity to temperature. In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all – your dentist may see the need for a root canal following a routine dental x-ray.
The Root Canal Process
An x-ray will show how many roots are involved and their precise location. It is imperative that all roots be treated for a successful outcome.
Anesthetic is administered and the damaged tooth is segregated by a rubber dam. A small access point is created in the tooth. Endodontic files are used to remove the contents of the pulp chambers. Each chamber is thoroughly flushed – if infection is present, medication may be placed and an oral antibiotic may be prescribed. The empty chambers are filled with a rubber compound. The final step is to seal the access point most often using a dental crown.
Root canal therapy allows a tooth to be preserved – with daily oral care and regular visits with our team at Bliss Dental, this treatment option may help patients keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.