When the pulp of a tooth becomes infected or dies, root canal therapy is necessary to save the tooth. It is generally a comfortable treatment that can save your tooth and keep your mouth healthy.
What is endodontic treatment?
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth.
To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel is a hard layer called the “dentin”. And inside the dentin is a soft tissue called “the pulp”. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.
The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp.
Why would I need a root canal?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay extending into the pulp, repeated dental procedures on a particular tooth, and fracture or breakage. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause severe pain or lead to a dental abscess.
Symptoms of Infection
How does this procedure save my tooth?
We first remove the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully clean and shape the inside of the tooth, then fill and seal the space. Afterwards, a crown or other restoration is placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.
For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Post-operative treatment of possible pain is something that you and your dentist will discuss.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, as with any dental treatment, if you have severe or persistent pain or pressure, call our office!