TEETH ARE ALIVE, just like every other part of the body. That means they are susceptible to infection. Whenever an infection becomes severe enough, the tainted part has to go or else all the surrounding tissue will be compromised as well and the patient’s life will be at risk! That’s where a root canal comes in.
What Is A Root Canal?
Root canals are a way of getting rid of the infection in a tooth without getting rid of the actual tooth. A root canal won’t save your tooth—by the time you need one, it’s too late for that, but it will allow you to keep it.
A dentist or endodontist will drill into the tooth to reach the infected pulp at its core. Next, the pulp is removed, leaving the tooth hollow. After the space is flushed out, the root is filled with sealer and the crown with cement, and the whole tooth is capped off with an artificial crown. This procedure ensures that no more bacteria can get inside the tooth and minimizes the chances of the tooth breaking.
To get a better understanding of what’s involved in root canal treatment, check out the video below:
When Do You Need One?
The way teeth become infected is through decay, cavities, or cracks from an injury, which means it’s usually an avoidable problem. If you’re brushing and flossing properly, your teeth are unlikely to reach a level of decay that allows bacteria to reach the living dental pulp inside them. However, some people are genetically more susceptible to tooth decay.
Infection can lead to an abscess at the tooth’s root or death of the pulp. If you have tooth decay extensive enough to require a root canal, you’ll probably be experiencing significant pain in and around the infected tooth. With an abscess, there will also be swelling and inflammation. Tooth pain alone isn’t always a sign of an infection, but it’s always worth checking out to make sure.
Other symptoms of tooth infection include:
- Temperature sensitivity
- Sensitivity to pressure (particularly when chewing)
- Swollen lymph nodes under jaw
- Rush of foul-tasting fluid and pain relief if abscess drains
Before You Get A Root Canal…
A common misconception is that only endodontists (dentists whose practices are limited just to root canals) can perform root canals. General dentists, especially those that have undergone additional training and education in root canal therapy, can also perform root canals. Every office and dentist is different, and pending on the ability of the dentist, the status of the tooth, the tooth location, and the complexity of the tooth and treatment, sometimes cases are best treated by an endodontist. In our office, Dr. Yu performs a number of root canals herself; however she will always act in the best interest of her patients. For those specific cases where she feels her patients would benefit the most by treatment by an endodontist, she works closely with some of the best endodontists in the area whom she exclusively trusts to treat her patients.
Keep Those Teeth Healthy!
Remember that preventing the problem is always better than needing a solution! Healthy teeth don’t need root canals, so keep brushing twice a day and flossing daily and cut back on sugary drinks so that your teeth will stay healthy!
We love our patients! Thank you for choosing our practice.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.