What Is A Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure named for the part of the tooth it is performed on. The root canal is the inner chamber of a tooth that contains the dental pulp, a soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves. If bacteria invades the root canal through a deep cavity or a crack in a tooth, the dental pulp may become infected and a root canal procedure will be necessary. A root canal may also be done proactively to prevent infection.
During a root canal the dental pulp is removed, the root canal is thoroughly cleaned out, and the tooth is filled with a rubbery material that fortifies the tooth and prevents infection. In many cases a crown will be placed over the tooth following a root canal to protect the remaining tooth structure and root.
What is Endodontic Retreatment?
Occasionally a tooth that was treated months or years ago may develop new problems. In some cases a tooth that has received a root canal fails to heal or continues to have pain. You may have another chance to save the tooth with a second endodontic procedure.
Benefits of A Root Canal
There are many benefits to getting a root canal:
- Removes infection. A root canal procedure eliminates the infection by removing infected tissue from the tooth.
- Relieves pain. A tooth infection can be painful, but a root canal relieves pain by removing the infected tissue as well as the nerves inside the tooth.
- Prevents infection. A tooth with a deep cavity or a crack is at risk of infection. A root canal can be done proactively to prevent the tooth from becoming infected.
- Saves the tooth. In many cases a root canal can save the natural tooth and allow it to stay in place in your mouth
Are You a Good Candidate for A Root Canal?
If you have a tooth that hurts or is extremely sensitive to cold or heat, you may be a good candidate for a root canal. A severe toothache indicates an infected tooth that should be treated as soon as possible to increase the chances of saving the tooth. A tooth that is sensitive to hot or cold temperatures and the sensitivity resonates after the source is gone, may be at risk of infection. A deep cavity or a cracked tooth is also at risk for infection and may need a root canal.