What is a root canal?
Inside every tooth, there is a pulp, root, and nerve, and if any of those are infected with bacteria it can kill your natural teeth. So, a root canal is a procedure that is done to clean out the bacteria harboring in the root of a tooth. Root canals are generally done by endodontics who specialize in taking out the pulp and reshaping the root canals and filling them with fillers. Although root canals seem complicated, they are fairly common; according to the American Association of Endodontics (AAE), there are more than 15 million people who have had root canal procedures. Continue reading for more information about the process of root canals.
During root canal surgery, endodontics are mainly trying to save and restore the natural tooth before it becomes too dead to function. First, endodontics remove the inflamed and infected pulp inside the tooth, without this step the bacteria in the tissues can cause abscesses. Secondly, the root canal and pulp chamber are thoroughly cleaned and reshaped to enlarge for a future filling. Finally, the empty canal is filled with rubber and sealer paste and covered with a crown made of porcelain and metal to protect the tooth of future damage. Although root canals seem painful, many patients report little to no pain during surgery, as local anesthetics are used to numb the infected area. Living with an infected tooth could cause more pain and damage.
Signs of needing a root canal
Discoloration: the tooth gets a darker color such as brown or black which can indicate the blood vessel and nerve are damaged and decaying.
Tooth pain: pain levels may vary in different stages, but generally when applying pressure there is lasting pain after chewing, similar to having a cavity. For example, after biting into an apple the tooth signals intense pain in that area.
Cracked tooth: the cracked area of a tooth allows the nerves to be exposed to many bacteria which can trickle into the bloodstream, causing an infection. Untreated cracked teeth lead to extreme pain and more infections.
Sensitivity: feeling hot or cold senses after the stimulus has passed after weeks or months, caused by damaged nerves.