The words “root canal” can elicit fear and loathing but it doesn’t have to be that way. Modern dentistry techniques and technology allow root canals to be performed with minimal discomfort, usually over only two appointments.
Each tooth has dental pulp at its center. Dental pulp is the part of the tooth that allows us to feel temperature and is also able to alert us to the presence of dental issues. Cracks on the surface of a tooth can be caused by decay or even a bump or a knock. Through these cracks bacteria may enter the pulp causing inflammation and pain. Common symptoms that the pulp of a tooth is infected include:
Increased sensitivity to temperature (hot and cold)
Pain with biting or pressure
Oral or facial swelling
While any of these symptoms could indicate the need for a root canal, it is possible for infection to spread to the pulp of a tooth without any indication. It is vital to have regular checkups to ensure the health of your teeth. Without treatment, bacteria in the pulp of your teeth could cause an abscess which, as well as being extremely painful, might result in the need to have the tooth removed completely.
What is the Benefit of Having a Root Canal?
Nobody wants a mouth full of decay and bacteria. As well as pain and a bad smell, tooth decay can result in the need to have teeth removed and even dangerous infections. A root canal is a great solution for most people suffering from diseased tooth pulp. It allows the structure of the tooth to be saved, maintaining a gapless smile without the need for implants.
How is a Root Canal Performed?
Once you have consulted your dentist and decided that a root canal is right for you, treatment is fairly straightforward. At your first appointment, the infected pulp will be removed, and any abscesses drained. The hollow of your tooth will be cleaned and shaped for the filling and a temporary filling will be inserted. Your tooth will be left to settle, and a second appointment will be scheduled. At this appointment your dentist with check that the infection has completely cleared and your tooth will be permanently filled or crowned.