In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you would probably lose it. Today, we can save that tooth with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment. Root canals are a relatively simple procedure involving one to three office visits. Best of all, having a root canal when necessary can save your tooth and your smile!
What is the purpose of a root canal?
A tooth's nerve is not vital to its health and function after it has emerged through the gums. The only function of a nerve is to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve does not affect the day-to-day function of a tooth.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it's detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may need to be removed.
What are the signs a root canal is needed?
Teeth requiring root canal therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include severe toothache, pain upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or pain in response to hot and cold temperatures, a dark discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact us immediately.
What happens during a root canal?
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, our team removes the affected tissue. Next, we clean and seal the interior of the tooth. Finally, we fill the tooth with a dental composite. If your tooth has extensive decay, we may suggest a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breakage. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.