A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp), cleaning it, and then filling and sealing it. Root canals are performed by dentists and endodontists (root canal specialists).
What Happens During a Root Canal?
During a root canal procedure, the dentist or endodontist will:
– Remove the damaged pulp from inside your tooth
– Clean and disinfect the inside of your tooth
– Fill and seal the inside of your tooth
– Place a crown or other restoration on your tooth to protect it from future damage
The entire procedure usually takes one or two visits to the dentist, depending on the severity of the damage.
Why Would I Need a Root Canal?
There are several reasons why you might need a root canal, including:
– Decay: If you have a cavity that has reached the pulp (the center of your tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels), you will need a root canal.
– Infection or Abscess: If bacteria have entered your pulp, it can cause an infection. An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the end of an infected tooth. Both infections and abscesses can cause serious pain.
– Injury: If your tooth has been injured, it may become cracked or chipped. This can allow bacteria to enter your pulp and cause an infection.
– Repeated Dental Procedures: Teeth that have had multiple fillings, crowns, or other procedures may weaken and require a root canal.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Root Canal?
Having a root canal will relieve pain and save your tooth. It is important to keep as many natural teeth as possible because they help you eat, speak, and smile. They also provide support for your cheeks and lips. Additionally, natural teeth help keep spaces open in your mouth so that adjacent teeth do not shift out of position.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Root Canals?
As with any type of medical procedure, there are some risks associated with root canals. These risks include:
– Infection: Although infections are one of the main reasons people require root canals in the first place, there is a small risk of infection after the procedure has been completed. This risk can be reduced by taking care of your teeth properly and visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
– Nerve Damage: In rare cases, nerve damage may occur during a root canal procedure. This could lead to numbness or tingling in your tongue, lips, chin, or gums. This sensation is usually temporary and will go away within a few weeks without treatment. However, surgery may be required in rare cases to correct nerve damage that does not improve on its own.
Although root canals are often considered painful, they are quite effective at relieving pain caused by decay, infection, injury, or repeated dental procedures. Root canals also have the added benefit of saving your natural teeth so that you can continue to eat, speak, and smile normally. There are some risks associated with root canals, but these are typically minor compared to the benefits of having the procedure done.