How Getting a Root Canal Can Help Your Dental Health
Root canal therapy is an endodontic treatment for an infected or decayed tooth. Usually, your teeth have three main layers. The enamel is the outer and hardest part of the tooth. It protects the tooth from external factors like trauma and acidic attacks. Dentin is the second layer of the tooth, softer than the enamel. The innermost chamber is the pulp; it contains the tooth’s blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues.
When the tooth’s enamel is compromised, bacteria can enter the tooth, infecting the pulp and causing further decay to the tissues that keep the tooth alive. It often results in toothaches, sensitivity, and other unpleasant symptoms.
A root canal is necessary if bacteria or decay has invaded the tooth’s pulp. The procedure entails removing the infected pulp to stop the bacterial infection and save the tooth to prevent tooth loss and other complications.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
Initially, tooth infection may not result in apparent symptoms. As decay develops, many people notice certain common symptoms like:
- Persistent tooth pain: While you can get tooth pain from many issues like gum disease, bruxism, or dental trauma, a persistent throbbing pain deep in the tooth may indicate tooth decay. A root canal is necessary to remove the infection to prevent tooth loss.
- Sensitivity to heat, cold, or sugar: If you experience sharp pain on a specific tooth when taking hot, cold, or sugary items, your tooth may be infected, and you may need a root canal.
- Swollen or sore gums: Swollen, sore, tender, or puffy gums around a painful tooth often indicate tooth infection.
- Painful pimple on the gums: If you notice a pus-filled pimple around a painful tooth, you may have an infected tooth. The pimple may cause an unpleasant smell or taste.
- Tooth discoloration: Tooth discoloration on a specific tooth often indicates tooth infection or trauma. Decayed tooth tissues can cause a tooth to look darker.
- Pain when biting down: If you have tooth pain when chewing or touching a specific tooth, the tooth may be infected.
- Loose teeth: A severe tooth infection can weaken the tissues around a tooth, causing the tooth to feel loose or wobbly.
- Chipped, cracked, or broken tooth: Significant tooth damage like chips, cracks, and breaks can expose the tooth’s pulp, allowing bacteria to enter and infect the tooth pulp.
Root Canal Procedure
Before performing the root canal, the dentist will examine your tooth and might take x-rays to help determine the extent of the damage to the tooth. It is necessary to determine whether a root canal is the right treatment option. If the damage is too severe to repair with a root canal, the right option would be to extract the tooth.
Below are the general steps of a root canal procedure:
- Anesthesia: The dentist will numb the area around the infected tooth to prevent pain during the procedure. They may also provide sedation to help with anxiety.
- Preparing the tooth: A small rubber dam is placed around it to isolate and keep it dry.
- Drilling: The dentist will drill through the tooth to access the pulp to remove the decayed tissues.
- Pulp removal: The dentist uses tiny endodontic files to remove the decayed blood vessels and other tissues from the tooth.
- Cleaning and shaping the canals: After removing the pulp, the pulp chamber and root canals are thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and shaped.
- Filling the canals: The dentist uses a rubber material called gutta-percha to fill the empty canals.
- Sealing the tooth: The dentist uses a temporary filling material to seal the tooth to prevent re-infection.
- Placing the final restorations: Lastly, the dentist will place a permanent filling or/and crown to strengthen the tooth and protect it from new infections and fractures.
Benefits of a Root Canal Treatment
- It saves your natural tooth.
The main benefit of a root canal vs. extraction is keeping your natural tooth. If you don’t get a root canal, the infection will spread further, eating up more structure of the tooth, weakening your tooth, and eventually leading to tooth loss. Similarly, an untreated tooth infection can spread to the surrounding tissues like the gums and bone, causing your teeth to loosen and even fall out. The sooner you get a root canal, the better your chance of keeping your tooth.
- It prevents other oral issues.
Untreated tooth infections won’t go away without treatment. Even worse, they will likely spread to the surrounding tissues, increasing your risk of oral issues like tooth loss, gum disease, bad breath, bone loss, and certain cancers.
It doesn’t stop there, the infection can spread to the head, neck, heart, and other vital body organs, resulting in life-threatening conditions like sepsis, fever, diabetes, strokes, heart disease, and pneumonia.
- It eliminates oral discomfort.
Treating an infected tooth eliminates symptoms like toothaches, swelling, abscesses, bad breath, sensitivity, and fever. After the treatment, you should be able to eat, brush, and speak without difficulty or discomfort.
Schedule an Appointment Today
For more information about root canals in York Harbor, ME, contact York Dental Group.