What is a Root Canal?
A root canal (also known as endodontic treatment) involves repairing a tooth infection and filling the canal where the nerve was removed. When a nerve in a tooth dies, the infected tissue must be removed by either extracting the tooth or performing a root canal treatment.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
You may need a root canal treatment if your tooth is infected or has dead nerve. The two most common causes of infection are deep cavities and trauma causing fractures and broken teeth. Both of these conditions expose the nerve to bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria can cause an infection that can damage the nerve.
Without treatment, pus from the infection can gather at the root tip and pass into the jawbone, which can cause an abscess and damage to the bone surrounding the tooth. The resulting pressure inside the bone and ligaments can cause severe pain. If left untreated, can become life-threatening.
We use several tests and x-rays to diagnose your condition to begin treatment immediately.
If you experience any or all of the following symptoms, you may need a root canal:
- Pain while chewing food
- Swelling of the gums
- Sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink
- Change in color of tooth
- A constant toothache
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
Alternatively, you may be completely unaware that you had an infection because you experienced no symptoms at all. In this case, a lesion of an infected root must be diagnosed by an x-ray and other vitality test.
After a root canal, tooth may become more brittle and less resilient (prone to breakage). A crown (cap) is recommended to protect the treated tooth from possible fractures.
It is normal to feel some tenderness in the area of treatment for a few days after a root canal. Your jaw may also be sore from keeping your mouth open for a long period of time. These symptoms are temporary, and usually alleviated with or without pain medications.
Call our family dentistry office to see a dentist if you suspect you need a root canal.