A Root Canal is a treatment used to extract and replace teeth that may be extensively decayed or defected. The procedure requires the removal of the nerve and the pulp so that the inside of the tooth can be cleaned. If the tooth is not removed, or treatment is not done immediately, the surrounding tissue can also be at risk of getting infected. This is called an endodontic treatment because it treats the inside of the tooth. Not only does the root canal help relieve pain in the target tooth, but it can help to avoid putting excess strain on the surrounding teeth.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal itself is the natural cavity in the center of the tooth. The soft area within the tooth chamber is called the pulp. There are several nerve endings inside the pulp along with blood vessels and connective tissue which created the hard tissue around the tooth during development. The pulp is important for the development and growth of the tooth but a mature tooth no longer needs the pulp to survive. The tooth then gets nourishment from the tissues surrounding it.
What can damage the root canal?
Infections or deep tooth cavities are some of the most common reason for damage to the pulp and nerves. Infections can cause the pulp to die and lead to swelling on the tip of the roots of the tooth. The swollen area contains pus and can cause the nerves to die causing sharp pain when it comes in contact with other things, such as food. An infection can spread really fast inside the mouth, depending on which bacteria are causing it. While treatment with antibiotics is an option, the risk of it spreading to the bone is high, and removal is the best option.
Deep tooth cavities expose the pulp to bacteria from cavities and other bacteria in the mouth. This can cause inflammation of the pulp and can be very painful. In cases where it’s not as painful, it can still cause the nerves and pulp to degenerate and the decay can gradually spread. This is why removing it becomes important.
What are signs to look out for that indicate you might need a Root Canal?
Pain is one of the most common signs that you might need a root canal. Increased and prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold things accompany this. The tooth may also become too tender to touch and chew. Teeth can also become discolored and swollen. There can be drainage and tenderness in the surrounding bone and gum tissues of the affected area as well in the lymph nodes. Sometimes there may not be any indicators, and while that means a less painful experience for you, it means the problem can go undetected for longer.
Does Root Canal Hurt?
A root canal hurts no more than getting a filling. It is also dependent on each person’s condition and extent of decay in the tooth. Patients are administered anesthesia so it does not hurt any more than a tooth extraction. Like most other endodontic procedures, there is slight swelling and mild discomfort post treatment.
What happens during a root canal?
A root canal requires no more than a couple of visits. An X-ray is done to see the shape of the root canal and check for infections in the surrounding bone. Local anesthesia is then administered to numb the area near the tooth. This will also help you relax and ease you into the procedure. A rubber dam is placed in the mouth to collect saliva. A hole is drilled in the mouth to remove the debris and the inside of the tooth is cleaned using root canal files.