Why might I need a root canal?
A traumatic injury to a tooth or a deep cavity can cause the pulp inside the tooth to become exposed and infected with bacteria.
When a tooth has a severe internal infection, root canal therapy is usually performed in order to save it. A tooth with a severe internal infection like this would likely have to be extracted if not treated with root canal therapy.
Only your dentist can determine for certain whether you require a root canal. However, if you are experiencing symptoms such as severe toothache pain, prolonged sensitivity, discoloration, or swelling around the tooth, you may require a root canal. Some other common symptoms that suggest you might need a root canal include sensitivity to heat and cold, a chipped or cracked tooth, or tooth mobility (if a tooth is infected, it may feel loose).
What happens during the root canal procedure?
The dentist will usually begin the treatment process by administering anesthesia to the affected area in order to numb it completely. This is for your comfort so you feel as little pain as possible during the procedure.
Following that, your dentist will make an opening in the tooth and use specialized tools to remove bacteria as well as dying or dead tissue from the inside of the tooth. They will then shape the inner chamber of the tooth and irrigate it with water to remove any diseased tissue that has remained after the shaping.
Additionally, an antimicrobial solution might be applied to help clear away any remaining bacteria and reduce the likelihood of further infection.
After the chamber has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, your dentist will fill it with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material. In order to prevent further damage to the tooth, the dentist will apply a temporary filling to the opening, which will keep the tooth sealed until a permanent dental crown can be made for you.
A dental crown will be placed on a tooth to protect it from further damage, after which the procedure is considered complete.
Although the root canal procedure has a reputation for being painful and severely unpleasant, with the advancement of dental techniques and technology, root canal therapy has evolved into a relatively painless process that typically requires only two visits to the dentist to complete the procedure.
How can I prevent having to get a root canal?
In most cases, proper oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentists for routine exams and cleanings, can go a long way in preventing the need for a root canal.