What is a root canal?
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. If left untreated, the tissue surrounding the tooth will also become infected and form abscesses.
The term, “Root canal” actually describes the natural chamber in the center of the tooth. This chamber is called the pulp of the tooth. The nerves of the tooth reside in the pulp chamber and the root canal. Removal of the tooth’s nerve will not affect the tooth’s health and function to a large degree. Essentially, the nerve’s only purpose is to sense hot or cold and various degrees of pressure. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms it may be time to make an appointment with Dr. Daniell Mishaan, or your local dentist, to get your teeth checked and assessed for a root canal procedure:
- Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure.
- Prolonged sensitivity or pain to heat or cold temperatures.
- Discoloration of the tooth.
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums.
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
Why should I get a root canal?
Nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face. When the nerve tissue or pulp of the tooth is damaged, it breaks down and allows bacteria to breed within the pulp chamber. This bacteria or other debris caused by decay can cause an infection or abscessed tooth.
In addition to an abscess or severely damaging decay, an infection of the root canal can cause:
- Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
- Bone loss around the tip of the root
- Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.
As you can see, this type of infection can be very dangerous if left untreated.