What is a Root Canal?
A root canal procedure is done to replace infected pulp in a root canal. Before a root canal is performed, dentists take x-rays to find the infected canals.
Oral health problems do not always begin on the enamel or surface of the tooth. Problems can arise deep inside the tooth, in the core called the pulp.
The pulp is made up of soft tissue, where nerve cells and blood vessels are found. During teething, these nerve cells and blood vessels are responsible for pushing the tooth out of the gum.
When the tooth crown has reached its full size, the only function of the nerve cells and blood vessels is to make the tooth feel cold and hot. Although the pulp is doubly protected by dentin and enamel, bacteria can still reach it.
Besides resulting in chronic pain, the infected pulp may cause bone loss around the root and swelling in the face and neck. A root canal will prevent such consequences by removing the infected pulp from the tooth and sealing off the emptied space inside.
Symptoms that Require a Root Canal
The tooth’s pulp can be infected or destroyed in many ways. For example, if a person does not floss, bacteria can easily get into the pulp. If a person is involved in active physical sports, he/she may suffer a facial injury that will crack open the tooth.
However, being hit in the face or refraining from flossing does not immediately call for a root canal. The pulp of each tooth may have remained intact.
However, there are symptoms that should compel a person to consider having a root canal.
The most obvious symptom is chronic and severe toothache, especially during biting or chewing.
Another symptom is prolonged sensitivity to temperatures, in which the tooth will still feel hot, even when the hot food has been removed from one’s mouth.
Swollen and tender gums, as well as the presence of pimples on the gum, can be symptoms of an infected pulp.
The Root Canal Treatment
A specialized dentist treats an infected pulp and performs a root canal, and he or she is called an endodentist.
Before the root canal is performed, the dentist will take x-rays of the teeth to determine which ones have infected pulp.
Then, anesthesia is applied to the area to put the patient at ease and reduce sensitivity to pain. The dentist will drill a tiny hole into the tooth and drain out the infected pulp.
To make sure that no bacteria are left behind, the dentist will use root canal files to scrape off the inner wall of the tooth.
The emptied space is flushed with water and sterilized with sodium hypochlorite. Then the hole is sealed.
The permanent sealing of the hole might be performed in the next visit, especially when the dentist needs to apply medication inside the tooth to prevent infections. And lastly, the tooth is made stronger by putting on a crown.
Root Canal Results
After the root canal procedure, some sensitivity in and around the tooth will be felt.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can solve this sensitivity.
The patient needs only to avoid putting pressure on the tooth that underwent a root canal.
After the first few days, the root canal procedure can essentially be forgotten, as the benefits of a root canal can last throughout the patient’s entire life.