When the interior of a tooth has become decayed or damaged beyond simple repair, typically the only options are to extract the tooth or to perform endodontic therapy, otherwise known as a root canal. Root canals are performed by dental care professionals on individuals who would like to preserve the natural tooth instead of removing it and then replacing it with an implant or another synthetic tooth.
What Is a Root Canal?
Root canals are performed when the goal is to save a natural tooth that has become damaged or infected at the root. During the endodontic therapy process, the interior of the root pulp is removed and thoroughly cleaned to prevent infection. Root canals are typically performed as an alternative to extraction with the goals of providing relief from pain and restoring the ability to bite and chew effectively. Some symptoms may be present that indicate an assessment by a dentist is needed.
- Tooth is cracked or deeply chipped
- Chewing causes pain in the tooth
- Hot or cold sensitivity lingers
- Gums around the tooth become discolored or swollen
- Obvious signs of infection, such as pus or decay
What Happens During a Root Canal Procedure?
Root canals are performed by a dentist at a clinic or office. Local anesthesia is provided to prevent pain during the procedure. If the tooth is broken, pieces may be removed. Access to the pulp is created by one or more canals; after which the pulp is removed, and the surrounding tissues are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. After being cleaned, the area is filled and then sealed so it cannot become re-infected by bacteria and cause more issues.
A tooth without its pulp no longer has the adequate blood supply to stay strong, so the exterior will become brittle. For this reason, the final step of endodontic therapy is usually covering the natural tooth with a crown to prevent breakage. The recovery time is short, and the patient can go back to eating and other regular activities as soon as the numbing from the anesthesia has worn off. The ability to chew and bite normally, reduction in the risk of infection, and the preservation of the natural tooth are all important benefits of root canal therapy.
Schedule a Visit with Tribeca Dental Care
If you have any questions about endodontic therapy or want to see if you are a candidate for a root canal, contact Tribeca Dental to set up an appointment. Our dental team can help you reach your dental goals and provide consultation about any follow-up dental concerns you have.