Endodontic therapy, also known as a root canal, is a relatively painless treatment of the tooth aimed at clearing infection as well as protecting the tooth from subsequent infections.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but is detrimental to your overall health as well. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Teeth that require endodontic therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include:
- Severe toothache
- Pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- Dark discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
What happens during endodontic therapy?
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits during which your endodontist removes the effected tissue. After the tissue is removed, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Most teeth can be saved by endodontic therapy, however, tooth extraction may be necessary if:
- Roots are severely fractured
- The tooth does not have adequate bone support
- The tooth cannot be restored
- Root canals are not accessible
Endodontic therapy is intended to help save your tooth from extraction. Missing teeth can make you self-conscious, affect your ability to bite and chew, cause other healthy teeth to shift, and have a negative impact on your overall health. By choosing to receive endodontic therapy, you are choosing to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come.