Root canals are a common dental procedure used to save teeth that are decaying from the inside. Beneath the tough enamel of teeth is a mass of nerve endings, blood vessels, and connective tissue known as the pulp. Dentists administer root canal therapy when the pulp becomes infected or exposed, a condition which is easy to identify.
Signs and Symptoms
A discolored tooth is the most definitive sign of infection. When a single tooth appears darker than the other ones, a root canal could save it from permanent damage. Other symptoms of an infected tooth include pain when chewing or prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
Swelling and tenderness in the gums are also signs of bacterial buildup. As bacteria grow inside the tooth, the surface weakens and cavities form. Abscesses or pus-filled pockets may even develop if the tooth remains untreated.
Dentists begin the procedure by boring a hole through the surface of the infected tooth and pulling the pulp out. They clean the inside of the tooth using a series of root canal files. Each file has a diameter larger than the last, able to reach the very ends of the tooth’s chamber, where infected tissue usually develop. Finally, they fill the now-empty root canal with gutta-percha, a rubber compound. Dentists from CaringSmilesDentalClinic.com note that other restoration processes may be required to bring the tooth back to its optimal shape and function.
Root canal therapy typically requires more than one visit to the dentist before completion. After filing the insides of the tooth, the dentist may decide to apply a medication first in order to cleanse all infected areas. This usually takes a week, so a temporary filling keeps contaminants out of the open tooth until the next visit.
There are many possible causes of internal infection in the teeth. Bacteria can enter due to things such as blunt force trauma or simple cracks. In any case, root canals offer a way to save our smile without having to replace the tooth itself — just what’s inside.