Root Canal Treatment
A root canal therapy is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed from the center of the tooth, carefully cleaned and shaped, and then filled and sealed with protective material to prevent future infection. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.
“Root canal” is the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal. When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and can get infected with bacteria that can even cause an abscessed tooth.
In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:
Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
Bone loss around the tip of the root
Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.
Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
A root canal requires one or more office visits and involves the following steps –
The first step is to take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any signs of infection in a surrounding bone. After making the tooth numb, to ensure no pain, an access hole is drilled into the tooth to remove the pulp along with bacteria and related debris. After thoroughly cleaning with water & disinfectants, the canal is reshaped to be able to appropriately sealed to ensure no recurrence of the infection.
The final step is the external restoration of the damaged tooth structure, which is often either a large filling or a crown to prevent further damage to the remaining fragile tooth and restore it to full function.