A Basic Guide to Root Canal Therapy

A Basic Guide to Root Canal Therapy

Jan 01, 2023

Your tooth enamel is the hardest part of your body. However, it can still get damaged. Since the enamel primarily contains minerals like calcium, it’s susceptible to damage, decay, and erosion. When the enamel is compromised, the tooth’s inner structures, including the pulp, are exposed to infections and fractures.

The pulp chamber is the innermost part that contains the tooth’s tissues, like nerves and blood vessels. Bacteria can evade the pulp, infecting these tissues and causing decay. When this happens, a root canal is necessary to remove the infection and save the tooth.

In this article, let’s learn what a root canal treatment is, including its diagnosis, procedure, and risks.

What is root canal therapy?

A root canal treatment is an endodontic dental procedure removing the infected or inflamed pulp. The procedure stops the infection from spreading further, saving your natural tooth and preventing potential issues like tooth loss, bone loss, and other complications.

If you delay a root canal procedure, the infection spreads, damaging more of the tooth’s structure, eventually leading to tooth loss. According to the ADA, over 40,000 root canals are performed each day. That accounts for more than 15 million procedures per year. Visit our office for a root canal treatment near you.

How do I know if I need a root canal?

In the early stages, tooth decay might not show any significant symptoms. Most people don’t know they have an infected tooth until it’s too late. Fortunately, your dentist can notice early tooth decay or cavities during routine dental check-ups and cleanings.

Common signs that you might need a root canal include:

Persistent pain:

A deep tooth pain that doesn’t go away on a specific tooth could indicate a tooth infection, and you may need a root canal.

Tooth sensitivity:

A sharp pain or sensitivity to cold, heat, or sugar can indicate an exposed nerve, and you might need a root canal.

Swollen gums

When a tooth is decayed, it can release pus into the gums, leading to puffy, sore, tender, and swollen gums.

Dental abscess:

Pus from a decayed tooth can drain in a painful pimple or boil on the gums. The pimple can accompany fever and bad taste or smell.

Tooth discoloration:

When a tooth is infected, poor blood supply and the release of acids from decayed tissues can make your tooth look darker.

Pain when chewing:

Pain when touching a tooth or chewing could indicate nerve damage, causing the need for a root canal.

Chipped or cracked tooth:

Cracking, chipping, or breaking your tooth when chewing or playing sports exposes your tooth to infections, which can cause the need for a root canal.

Loose tooth:

A tooth infection can weaken the underlying jawbone and surrounding tissues, causing the tooth to feel loose.

When you visit our dentist near you for a root canal, they will begin by examining your teeth and mouth to determine your problem. The exam will also include x-rays, photographs, and impressions to determine the extent of damage to the tooth.

You don’t need a root canal if the damage hasn’t passed the enamel. Similarly, a root canal may not be effective if the damage is too extreme to support a restoration.

Root canal Procedure

The procedure always begins by administering aesthetics and sedation to keep you relaxed and painless throughout the procedure. Then, the dentist places a rubber dam around the tooth to isolate and keep it dry.

Next, the dentist drills through the tooth to access the inflamed pulp. The dentist removes the infected blood vessels, nerves, and tissues from the tooth using tiny endodontic files. Then, the dentist cleans, disinfects, and shapes the pulp chamber and root canals.

Since a root canal leaves empty canals, the dentist fills the spaces with a flexible, rubber gutta-percha material. Next, a temporary dental filling seals the tooth to prevent reinfections. The tooth is allowed to heal for about two weeks.

Lastly, the dentist places the final restorations like dental fillings and crowns. These restorations help strengthen the tooth and protect it from new infections and fractures. Visit our dental office for a root canal treatment near Brookline.

Root canal therapy risks

Generally, root canals have an impressive success rate. However, it doesn’t come without risks. A root canal can cause mild to severe side effects like:

  • Pain in the treated tooth
  • Gum swelling
  • Pus or drainage near the treated tooth
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Sinus problems
  • Fever
  • Re-infections
  • Tooth fractures

Schedule an Appointment Today With our dentist in Brookline, MA

Contact our dentist at Dental Partners of Brookline for more information on root canal treatment in Brookline, MA.

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