Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure used to clear infected pulp away from the pulp chambers and canals of a diseased tooth. Infections occur when bacteria are allowed to enter the pulp – often due to untreated decay or a crack in the tooth. During a root canal, the tooth is opened and the pulp removed. Biocompatible cement is used to fill the tooth before it is restored with a crown or other restoration.
Did you know…
that while most infected teeth are easily identified by the symptoms they cause, some produce no discomfort at all? It is important to visit your dentist regularly for routine exams that may reveal diseased teeth that would otherwise go unnoticed. Failure to treat an infected tooth could result in a death of the tooth and total loss. Worse, the infection can spread to other areas of the body, causing potentially life-threatening conditions.
You may need a root canal if tooth decay or a broken tooth has allowed the pulp to become infected and inflamed. Signs and symptoms to watch out for include temperature sensitivity, swelling, drainage, odor, pain, and discoloration of the tooth. It is important to treat infections quickly, as delaying treatment can result in severe tooth pain and abscess.
Your endodontist will numb your tooth with a local anesthetic and administer analgesia if needed. Once the tooth is numb, an opening will be made in the top of your tooth to access the canals. Your endodontist will use tiny instruments to remove pulp from your tooth and prepare it to be filled. You will return at a later date to have your root canal capped with a crown or other type of restoration that will give it the appearance and function of a natural tooth.
You will be allowed to drive yourself home from your root canal visit and may even wish to return to work the same day. However, it is normal for your tooth to be sensitive in the days following your procedure. You’ll need to avoid biting anything with your filled tooth, as this can cause it to break or fracture. So long as the tooth heals normally and you experience no complications, you can return to your endodontist within a month to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth.