What Is a Root Canal?
Your dentist has recommended a root canal, and you are not sure what that means. You have heard people discuss this procedure before, but you are unsure of the details and need to learn more before moving forward. Learn what this procedure is and what it treats. Then you will be ready to take the next step.
The root canal procedure
The tooth’s pulp sits underneath the enamel and the dentin. This soft tissue has nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that promotes the root’s growth when the tooth is developing. If the tooth experiences extreme decay or trauma, the pulp can become infected or inflamed, which can cause an abscess. When this occurs, dentists recommend root canals.
Signs that a root canal is needed
Dentists determine if patients need a root canal during examinations. However, many patients discover they need this procedure in between appointments. People who experience symptoms should visit the dentist to see if a root canal is needed. Common symptoms include significant pain while chewing, chips or cracks in the teeth and extreme sensitivity to cold or heat that continues after eating and drinking. Patients also might have tender or swollen gums or notice pimple-like pumps on the gumline.
Root canal treatment
During the treatment, dentists remove the pulp from the root of the tooth. Next, dentists must clean the root canal and shape it to hold the filling. If the area is infected, dentists might put medicine in the canal to speed up treatment. A material is placed inside the canal to seal it.
Dentists typically place a temporary filling to protect the root canals while patients heal. Patients must go back to have the temporary filling removed and a new restoration put in its place. Permanent fillings and crowns are used to restore the teeth. These dental treatments strengthen and restore the function of the teeth.
Root canals used to be very painful. However, advancements in dentistry have changed that. Patients typically experience some tenderness in the treated area for a few days after the procedure. The jaw also might be slightly sore when opened or closed. Patients usually treat these symptoms with over-the-counter pain medications.
Some patients have more significant symptoms. Those who experience severe pain that lasts for days and significant swelling should call their dentists. Also, a trip to the dentist is necessary if the bite feels uneven. The temporary restoration might need an adjustment to fit better. It is important to fix it before the uneven bite harms the jaw.
Do you need a root canal?
Root canal therapy can help you save your tooth. Look for signs that you need a root canal. If you think you do, visit the dentist to get the treatment. Your dentist will remove the pulp and replace it with a filling material. Take over-the-counter pain medications after the procedure and call the dentist if you have any significant symptoms.
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