Root canals contain pulp that nourishes the enamel and root nerves for sensitivity. When you have tooth decay, it might progress and infect the root canal contents if left untreated. If the root canal contents are infected, you might be at risk of complications, such as gum disease, tooth loss and jawbone infection.
To treat the infection in the root canal, your Pearland dentist might recommend root canal treatment.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is not a treatment procedure but part of the tooth that contains nerves for sensitivity and tissue that facilitates the teeth’ nourishment. On the other hand, root canal or endodontic therapy is the procedure that your dentist uses to reduce pain and prevent complications by removing the root canal contents.
Some signs might indicate an infected root canal, which includes:
- Persistent toothache and sometimes swelling
- Sensitivity to heat and cold, exceptionally sharp pains when you eat ice cream or drink hot beverages
- Pain when you eat or touch your tooth
- Cracked or chipped tooth
- Loose tooth
Why Do You Need Pulp and Root Nerves Removed?
According to the American Dental Association, you should consider endodontic therapy for reasons such as damaged pulp and nerves. When you have extensive tooth decay, the bacteria migrate into the root canal and damages its contents. Therefore, to prevent further complications and save your tooth, root canal therapy would be necessary.
Steps of a Root Canal Treatment Procedure
Endodontic therapy has three steps and might take up to three dental appointments. Below are the steps:
Consultation and Cleaning
When you have an infected root canal, the dentist will first examine your teeth jaw and gums to check for the infection’s progression. Leaving a tooth untreated can have a significant impact on the neighbouring teeth, gums and jaw. Therefore, your dentist might use dental x-rays to check for any other signs of root canal infections.
After developing a treatment plan, the dentist will drill an access hole through the tooth and remove the infected pulp and root nerves. During the procedure, the dentist might use local anaesthesia to prevent pain. However, the root nerves might be dead. Therefore, you are not likely to experience pain.
Filling the Root Canal
After removing the root canal contents, the dentist will use small files to eliminate any debris and use an irrigating solution to eliminate bacteria from the root canal. If you are at risk of another infection, your dentist might fill the root canal with medications to stop any signs of infection. Your dentist will then fill the tooth with gutta-percha and seal the access hole.
Adding a Tooth Restoration
After the root canal therapy, the tooth becomes weak. Therefore, the dentist might recommend a dental crown to cover it or a tooth filling. Your dentist will place the dental restoration during the third dental appointment.
During the procedure, the dentist will prepare your tooth first and place the dental crown. Since the pulp is not present to nourish the tooth, the dental crown will reinforce the weak enamel.
Is Endodontic Therapy Painful?
Most people shake in fear when they hear root canal therapy. However, the root canal procedure is painless. Most of the time, root nerves are already damaged. Therefore, you are not likely to experience pain. Also, your dentist might recommend local anaesthesia to reduce discomfort during the root canal therapy.Complications Associated With Root Canal Therapy
Just like any other dental procedure, you might experience complications. However, the risk of complications during endodontic treatments is rare. Some of the complications associated with the treatments include:
- Undetected infected root canals
- A root canal that is not correctly sealed, increasing the risk of infection
- The tooth’s root might crack, perforating the root canal
Preventing Root Canal Infections
At Pearly Whites of Pearland, we believe prevention is better than cure. Therefore, to prevent infections in the root canal, you can consider the following:
- Brushing your teeth before going to bed and one more time during the day
- Floss your teeth at least once a day
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings
- Avoid eating sugary and sticky foods and instead, eat foods rich in calcium and use fluoride products
- Use a suitable toothpaste and replace it regularly