If your dentist has recommended an endodontic procedure, or a root canal, to treat your tooth, you may be concerned about the treatment. Here is a bit of information about root canals and why they are performed.
What Are Root Canals?
Root canals are surgical procedures that the dentist conducts in their office. During the treatments, the pulp is accessed through a hole in the tooth material and removed. The pulp, which the soft living matter that is in the center of a tooth, contains the tooth's blood vessels and nerves.
Once the dentist has extracted the pulp, they clean and disinfect the interior of the hollow tooth. After the disinfection, the provider fills the tooth and covers it with a dental crown.
Why Would a Dentist Prescribe an Endodontic Procedure?
A dentist often prescribes a root canal procedure after confirming that the source of dental discomfort lies within the pulp. However, certain symptoms in addition to tooth pain may also suggest the need for an endodontic procedure. They include:
- A gingival abscess
- Chronic, painful sensitivity to changes in temperature
- Tooth discoloration
- A foul-smelling liquid draining from the area around the tooth
Endodontic applications are frequently used to salvage a tooth that is infected or severely damaged by decay. Additionally, the dentist may perform these treatments when the patient suffers from a chronically sensitive tooth. The procedure eliminates the discomfort and any infected pulp material.
A dental infection is often accompanied by discomfort. As the infection worsens, the pulp and the nerves within it become increasingly inflamed. The root canal treatment alleviates the pain and prevents the infection from spreading to other tissues, including the jawbone.
Dental decay may also cause chronic toothache. As the bacterial acids demineralize the tooth material, the resulting hole, or cavity, grows deeper and eventually breaches the pulp. As a result, the hole in the tooth may incite an infection by allowing the oral bacteria to more easily access the pulp and infect it.
How Long Do the Effects of Root Canals Last?
As long as all of the pulp is removed during the endodontic procedure, the effects of the treatment should be permanent. The pain and inflammation should not return.
What Are the Alternatives to an Endodontic Procedure?
Often the only alternative treatment to an endodontic procedure is a dental extraction. The removal of the entire tooth eliminates any infection and the inflamed nerves.
To learn more about root canals and their applications, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.