A root canal procedure is often the first step in remedying decaying teeth or when prepping for cosmetic procedures like crowns or implants. The article outlines a few of the most common reasons you'll need to have a root canal performed, and what exactly the procedure entails.
A root canal procedure essentially cleans out rotting or infected pulp within a tooth's canal. It can also be used to treat infected or damaged nerves inside a tooth. The first stage of the procedure involves an x-ray of the affected tooth to look for signs of infection in surrounding bone. If the adjacent bone structure is unaffected, the dentist will apply a local anesthesia to the area and drill a small hole down through the tooth in order to access the root.
Next, a dentist will use specially designed tools to remove infected pulp or nerve tissue that has decayed. The sides of the tooth's root canal are scraped clean and any remaining debris is vacuumed out with a power suction device. If any kind of infectious material was present, your dentist may want to wait a few days before sealing up the opening, also applying antibiotic medication to the affected area to ensure the infection is contained.
If there was no infection, the dentist will generally fill the canal the same visit, using a combination of sealant and rubber compound. It is necessary to fill the canal to prevent shrinking of the surrounding bone structure and to provide a stable foundation for the tooth.
Why The Pulp Has To Go
The reason it is so important to have a dentist remove the infected or decaying pulp is because if left unchecked it will spread and may affect healthy tissue or adjacent bone structures. Decaying tooth pulp might also cause an abscessed tooth, which is basically a tooth whose canal has become inflamed and swollen from infection. Infected pulp can also cause drainage problems near the lower portion of the tooth, and when severe, an infection can penetrate the inner walls of the root and potentially seep through to the gums and even to the skin of the cheeks. In all, you should never delay having a root canal performed if you think you need one.
Why You Might Need One
The most common indications that you need to have a root canal procedure performed are decaying or discolored teeth, and pain. The pain can come in many forms, including sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages, or when chewing. Swelling around the gums of one or more teeth might also indicate an infection, and some individuals have even experienced having recurring pimples on their gums, a clear indication that an infection is present. If you experience any of these symptoms you need to contact your dentist at once, not only to help alleviate the pain but to ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
Overall, a root canal is a fairly simple procedure but one that is imperative in maintaining a healthy mouth when dealing with infected or decaying tooth roots.