Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a procedure where the pulp of the tooth is treated. The pulp in your tooth is soft and consists of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The hollow part in the middle of your tooth holds the pulp and is called the pulp chamber. The middle of the tooth also contains canals that extend through the roots of your teeth into the bone that surrounds your teeth and gums. If the pulp in your tooth is infected or inflamed our dentists may recommend root canal treatment.
There are several reasons that our dentists might schedule root canal treatment. These include pain, abscess, deep cavities, trauma, fracture and repeated dental procedures. Pain is an indication that your tooth is still very much alive as it is very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. If your tooth has abscessed, a root canal is necessary. An abscess will form when the tooth has died forming pus pockets around the bottom of the root. Abscesses are quite dangerous and can spread to the surrounding bones and tissues. Antibiotics can prevent spreading of the infection, but a root canal is the only way to remove the dead tissue causing the abscess.
After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, doctor will place a metal clamp and a latex sheet, also known as a rubber dam, around your tooth. The rubber dam keeps your tooth isolated from contaminants and saliva. Once an opening has been made going through the top of your tooth, the pulp will be removed from the chamber and the canals will be cleaned with a disinfecting solution. Doctor will then shape your canals with files in order to increase the diameter assuring that the infected area is removed.
Once the cleaning is complete, doctor will fill the canals. Sometimes a post may be placed in one of the root canals to use as an anchor. In most cases, doctor will suggest a crown to protect the tooth from fracturing.
Since patients are given anesthesia, a root canal isn’t more painful than a regular dental procedure, such as a filling or getting a wisdom tooth removed. However, a root canal is generally a bit sore or numb after the procedure and can even cause mild discomfort for a few days.
Root canals are needed for a cracked tooth from injury or genetics, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous filling. Patients generally need a root canal when they notice their teeth are sensitive, particularly to hot and cold sensations.