Root canal procedures, also known as endodontics, where “endo” means inside, and “don't” means tooth, are specific treatments intended to treat issues related to the nerve tissue in a tooth, which involves the tooth’s soft pulp.
It is perceived as being extremely painful, but in reality, the pain from a majority of these treatments is comparable to when you get a filling. In fact, it is an extremely effective way to get rid of some types of tooth discomfort.
Root canal treatment is needed if the tooth’s pulp tissue has become infected or inflamed. The pulpy tissue comprises blood vessels, nerve cells, and connective tissue. This is why this sort of condition causes extreme pain.
Sometimes the pain temporarily goes away. But if it is not treated properly, the infection will not go away. This can cause dental abscesses or even cause systemic issues elsewhere in your body.
Root Canal Procedures Are Not a Joke
Everyone has likely seen the comedy skit where someone says they would rather get a root canal than endure some sort of undesirable task. However, though it seems hilarious on screen, refusing to get a root canal is definitely not a laughing matter.
The thought that this kind of treatment consistently comes along with difficulties and lots of pain is not true. What is true is that having infected or inflamed tooth pulp is agonizingly painful.
However, getting the root canal treatment will get rid of this horrible pain, and it isn’t what causes pain. Want another reason you should not wait to get a root canal done?
Well, what about the fact that if you save your natural tooth through this kind of procedure, the resulting restoration aids in avoiding issues that frequently happen if you have to have a tooth extraction.
Such complications include the teeth migrating or shifting, and that makes it hard to chew; as well as causing a need to get dental implants or bridgework.
Such work is expensive, and besides, without the root canal, there could be bone loss around the region where the tooth is missing.
Things Causing the Need for a Root Canal Procedure
Root canal issues occur due to inflammation and infections in the pulp tissue inside your tooth. Deep decay in the tooth is a possible infection cause. This is likely caused by not treating a dental cavity as this causes bacteria to get inside the tooth’s center.
Once there it can then cause infection of the pulp. Bacteria can also get into the pulp if you have cracked or chipped teeth. That’s because the enamel coating of the tooth now has an opening where the bacteria can get in and infect the pulp.
Trauma from something like a car accident or an injury while playing sport are two examples of ways to injure the pulp inside of a tooth. If this occurs, you must get to the dentist as soon as possible so the tooth can possibly be repaired and you won’t suffer worse problems later.
Sometimes, getting a lot of complicated dental work done may actually cause the tooth pulp to become damaged. For instance, if you have had many restorations or dental fillings on a single tooth, this makes it more likely you can suffer a tooth pulp injury.
Additionally, some dental treatments such as orthodontics or crown prep could sometimes end up causing the need for a root canal.
What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment?
If an exam reveals the need for a root canal, don’t be concerned. Root canals are a top example of a dental procedure and are a very effective part of a dentist’s toolbox of options. Plus, many times they only require one visit to the dentist.
A root canal process usually starts off like getting a filling. Plus it normally isn’t any more painful than a filling.
The dentist gives you an anesthetic, so the area and the tooth are numb, and for most patients that signifies the worst of the procedure is done. Then, a tiny hole is created on the affected tooth’s surface, so the dentist has access to the center of the tooth where the pulp is and is able to get to the root canal.
Dentists use small tools that are sometimes guided via microscope, to take out the infected and dead pulp tissue via the narrow passage into the tooth.
Then the dentist takes out the bad pulp, disinfects the area, and fills up space with an inert material that is biocompatible. Lastly, the hole is sealed up with adhesive cement, thus keeping out any future infection.
After getting a root canal, the tooth can remain tender or sensitive for several days. To combat this discomfort, the dentist may prescribe over the counter pain medications like ibuprofen or if necessary, stronger prescription pain medications.
While the area heals, you should keep from biting down hard with the tooth that was worked on. Any pain, discomfort or other symptoms are normally temporary.
Most times a crown or other form of restoration is placed over the tooth after a root canal. This protects it and restores the tooth to full usage. This restoration material could be anything from a gold crown to getting a fake tooth created with high tech material the same color as your tooth.
No matter which of the above restorations is used, getting a root canal is a procedure that will help keep your teeth healthy for many years.
Signs and Indications of Root Canal Issues
What are the things to look for in order to know if you have to have a root canal? At times, this will be very apparent. If the person is in horrible pain with lots of mouth pressure and it doesn’t let up, or if there are obvious swelling and severe gum sensitivity, you should get an exam ASAP.
Another revealing symptom that you have damage to teeth pulp tissue is that you feel a sharp pain as you take a bite of food. It is also indicative of damage if you have pain that lingers after you eat cold or hot food. Suffering any of the above problems should tell you to get a dental exam ASAP.
“I'd Rather Have a Root Canal...” We've all heard that expression, but how true is it? Is root canal treatment really something to be feared, or does it actually offer relief? In this article, a common misconception is demystified. Get the real story about this much maligned procedure that eases pain, rather than causes it... Read Article
Root Canal Treatment for Children's Teeth You may think that if a baby tooth comes out prematurely, it's no great loss; after all, it was going to fall out anyway, right? Wrong! Primary (baby) teeth serve as important guides for the permanent teeth that will replace them. Losing baby teeth prematurely can allow bite problems to develop. Root canal treatment for children can prevent this. Learn what to look for in your child and what can be done to save baby teeth until they are ready to be lost naturally... Read Article
Tooth Pain? Don't Wait! Pain is a protective response that informs the body that something is wrong. Tooth pain, specifically, is caused by a reaction of the nerves inside a tooth's pulp chamber, with the severity dependent upon the type and degree of the stimulus. This article gives some examples of pain symptoms and their possible causes... Read Article