A root canal is necessary when the tooth’s pulp, the soft tissue at the center of the tooth that houses the nerve and blood vessels, becomes necrotic or infected. This problem can arise following a deep cavity, a deep filling, or trauma, such as a sharp blow to a tooth. The advantage of this treatment is that it allows the infection to be eliminated, thus saving the tooth.
Endodontics or root canals
Common symptoms indicating the need for a root canal can be the following:
Sharp pain that occurs spontaneously without a stimulus.
Tooth abscess that often manifests itself as a swelling of the face, gums, or a fistula (a lump on the gums that sometimes bursts and releases pus).
A severely discolored tooth following trauma.
The presence of a chronic abscess can also manifest itself following a tooth x-ray without other symptoms.
What does the procedure entail?
Following a local anesthetic, a rubber dam is placed around the tooth to act as a protective barrier and prevent saliva from going back into the tooth. The dentists then proceeds by removing the necrotic, attacked, or infected tissue, as well as cleaning the root canal space. The root canal space is then closed so that bacteria can’t enter the canal. The total procedure time is usually between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, depending on the number of canals.
Depending on the tooth decay present, we may recommend a crown to protect the tooth against breakage or to mask discoloration.
Is it painful?
In the large majority of cases, a root canal is painless. On the contrary, root canals relieve the painful symptoms present in the tooth.
Following treatment, you may have slight discomfort, which can be relieved with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or Advil. As pain is minimal, many people return to the office after leaving the clinic. Most of the time, people are even shocked at the simplicity and speed of the procedure!
Why not just pull the tooth?
Nature doesn’t like empty spaces, and losing a tooth could lead to problems when it comes to tooth alignment or the position of adjacent teeth and its antagonist. Chewing with one less tooth could also cause problems with the jaw or remaining teeth.
From a financial point of view, a root canal is often considered a minor treatment for your insurance company and covered just like a filling. In addition, a root canal is a bargain when compared to the cost of pulling and replacing the missing tooth!