A “root canal” is not a dental procedure; rather, it is the name for the channel that runs up the centre of a tooth, much like the marrow space in the center of a bone. That channel contains the living tissue inside a tooth called pulp, which is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and complex cells. When a tooth is decayed or cracked, bacteria can get to the pulp and create infection. When this happens, the pulp becomes inflamed, making it harder for blood to flow to the tissue, and the resulting pressure creates pain inside your tooth. This situation of infected and inflamed pulp is called endodontic disease.
A tooth that needs root canal therapy generally has two options: removal or treatment. Root canal therapy, or endodontic therapy, refers to a procedure where the infected pulp is removed, and the root canal is treated and filled with specialized filling materials.
The purpose of root canal therapy
Root canal therapy has three purposes:
- To eliminate the pain of an infected pulp.
- To prevent bacteria and pain from spreading into the jaw.
- To preserve the original tooth, rather than replacing it.
In most circumstances, root canal therapy will require a dental crown on the affected tooth. You can read more about dental crowns here.
Symptoms of an infected tooth that may need root canal therapy
If you suspect you may need root canal therapy, the most important thing to do is to book an appointment to see your dentist right away to prevent further problems. Some common symptoms include:
- tooth pain or pressure, including constant, intermittent, severe, or throbbing pain
- lingering sensitivity to hot or cold liquids
- pain that moves from a tooth to another area such as the neck, temple, or ear
- pain that occurs in response to atmospheric pressure changes, such as when flying or scuba diving
- pain that occurs in response to postural changes, such as when going from a standing to a reclining position
What to expect with root canal therapy
We certainly understand that root canal therapy doesn’t sound like fun to most people, but our team has the expertise, modern technology, and gentle touch to make sure that you are comfortable! Talk to us about your concerns, and let us reassure you.
If you’re experiencing any tooth pain, book an appointment to come see us! Our entire team will help to set you at ease in our comfortable clinic, and we’ll make sure you’re on your way to being pain-free as soon as possible.
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