Root canals are also called “endodontic treatment.” A root canal can save a tooth that would have otherwise required extraction due to infection. The nerve inside the tooth is also called the “pulp” and is a collection of blood vessels and nerve endings inside the tooth. When the nerve inside the tooth becomes affected by trauma or decay, the nerve becomes inflamed causing severe pain. Eventually the nerve will die which then leads to an infection.
Symptoms you may experience when needing a root canal:
There are cases which have no symptoms initially but eventually an abscess will form (pimple like bump on your gums) and an emergency root canal will have to be done. If the infection is severe, we may need to place a drain around the gums to allow the infection to drain out. X-rays help us detect infection.
Root canal therapy is the process of removing the “pulp” of a tooth (the inside of the tooth comprised of nerves, blood vessels) when the tooth has become so infected or damaged that the only choice is either extraction or removal of the infected “pulp”.
We numb the tooth using a local anesthetic. Then we access the pulp by creating a small hole in the crown of the tooth, which allows us to clear out the infected tissue using a series of drills and files. This process often can be done in just one visit, but sometimes can require multiple appointments if we need to place antibiotics inside the tooth to get rid of severe infection.
Once the tooth is infection-free, the tooth and canals are sealed up to help prevent future infections. Depending on the condition of the tooth, a final restoration will then be placed. In most cases, the final restoration will be a crown for maximum protection.