What is a root canal?
During a root canal procedure, a dentist removes damaged pulp from inside the tooth, preventing the need for a tooth extraction. Also referred to as endodontic treatment, this is a safe and effective dental procedure.
Once a tooth has erupted through the gums, the nerve's sole function is to provide the sensation of cold or hot temperatures. Therefore, the nerve's absence will not impact the tooth's function and it's better to remove it.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
Usually, a root canal procedure involves between one and three appointments at your dental office, depending on how severe the damage is.
The dentist will first remove the affected tissue before cleaning the tooth's interior. The tooth will then be sealed and filled with composite material. If there was extensive tooth decay, the dentist may place a dental crown to protect and strengthen the tooth.
Why do I need a root canal?
When a tooth is cracked or a deep cavity has occurred, bacteria can enter the interior of the tooth and cause infection. Left untreated, an abscess may form, leading to pain and swelling and causing potential damage to your jawbones and general oral health.
In these circumstances, the solution is often to remove the infected tooth nerve with a root canal.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
Patients generally need a root canal when they experience a severe toothache, swelling in the gums, or tooth sensitivity, especially to hot and cold. These symptoms can be easily remedied when the damaged tissue is removed.
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 at Toothworks Brookfield Place Dental.
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.
You may experience some soreness or numbness after the procedure, and you may experience mild discomfort for a few days. But your dentist can help with pain management, and in most cases, any post-procedure pain can be treated quickly and comfortably.
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
- Try to limit the amount of sugary food and refined carbohydrates you eat. These foods have a tendency to stick to your teeth. If you eat sugary foods, try to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth shortly afterward