What Are Root Canals?

Root canals are a common dental procedure that can save a damaged or infected tooth from needing to be extracted. Despite its reputation for being a painful procedure, with modern techniques and anesthesia, a root canal can often be performed with little to no discomfort.

The procedure itself involves removing the infected or damaged pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels) and cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth. This can prevent further infection and allow the patient to keep their natural tooth.

The need for a root canal may be indicated by several symptoms, such as severe toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, swelling or tenderness in the surrounding gums, or even a small bump on the gums near the affected tooth. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to visit your dentist to determine if a root canal is necessary.

During the procedure, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth to be treated and make a small opening in the top of the tooth. They will then use special instruments to remove the infected or damaged pulp and clean and shape the inside of the tooth. Once the tooth is clean and free of infection, it will be sealed with a filling material and, in most cases, a crown (cap) will be placed over the tooth to protect it and restore its function.

After the procedure, it is normal to experience some mild discomfort and sensitivity, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. It is also important to avoid biting or chewing on the treated tooth for a few days, and to maintain good oral hygiene to ensure the best possible outcome.

Overall, a root canal is a common and effective procedure that can save a damaged or infected tooth from needing to be extracted. With proper care and maintenance, a tooth that has had a root canal can last a lifetime. If you are experiencing symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal, please schedule an appointment with your dentist.