What is a Root Canal?
A root canal therapy, commonly referred to as simply a “root canal”, becomes necessary when the tissues inside your tooth, called the pulp, becomes infected. This can happen in many different ways, often as the result of deep decay (cavities) or a chip or crack in the surface of your tooth enamel. The infection in the pulp can spread down through the root canals of your teeth into tissues of your gums forming an abscess, a very severe and painful infection that can endanger your overall health.
When Do I Need a Root Canal?
Signs that you may need a root canal are sensitivity of the problem tooth to hot and cold, to touch, discomfort while chewing, and inflammation and sensitivity of the gums around the tooth. Informing your dentist of these and any other symptoms you may be having during exams will allow him or her to decide if a root canal is necessary and appropriate for your condition. Some dentists will perform root canals. Others will refer you to an endodontist, a dental specialist who focuses on treating the insides of your teeth.
The Root Canal Procedure
First, your dentist will thoroughly numb the area around the tooth to be treated. Then, your dentist or endodontist drills down through the crown and into your infected tooth and removes the infected pulp from inside the tooth and the root canals. As adults, our teeth no longer require the pulp as it will continue to be nourished by the surrounding tissues.
Once the pulp has been removed, a biocompatible material will be used to temporarily fill up the now-empty space inside your tooth until restoration can begin. In some cases, where tooth decay has completely destabilized the tooth by eating away at the roots, a tiny metal rod may need to be inserted to hold the tooth in place in your gums.
Restoration is the final part of the process in which a crown will be created and placed over your compromised tooth. Your dentist or specialist will create the crown, matching it to the natural hue of your teeth, and will use it to seal up the tooth. Within several days, the swelling of the inflamed tissues will lessen and the “new” tooth can be used to chew and brushed and flossed just like your natural teeth.
Comfortable Root Canal Treatment in Annapolis, MD
So now you know that the root canal is really not so scary, after all. Instead it’s a helpful procedure intended to alleviate pain and save your natural teeth, allowing you to chew properly and smile confidently. As with most illnesses, it is preferable to prevent them than treat them. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily and scheduling regular exams with your Lee, Bonfiglio, Vesely & Associates dentist are all important steps to avoid needing a root canal. Appointments are especially important if your teeth have recently developed any chips or cracks. But if you do need a root canal, now you know there’s nothing to fear. To schedule at LBV today, call (410) 989-8298 or schedule a virtual consultation.