A root canal is an endodontic treatment used to relieve tooth pain. Patients are often afraid of the term root canal because it is perceived as a scary dental treatment. In actuality, root canal treatments are standard and can easily help to ease issues that are ongoing inside the teeth. At Colin M. McKinney, DMD, we can provide the essential root canal treatment needed to ensure your teeth are pain-free.
Understanding the Inside of a Tooth
To be able to understand the treatment provided by a root canal, it is important to get to know the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, underneath the white enamel and dentin, the hard outer layer, there is soft tissue. The soft tissue is known as the pulp, containing blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves.
The pulp will start at the roots of the tooth and extend to the dental crown. When a root canal is needed, the pulp inside the tooth has been compromised. Infection has set up inside, and the pulp must be removed to provide relief from pain.
A root canal is performed in our office when a patient has a tooth that has inflamed or infected pulp. Decay deep within the tooth can be cause for a root canal as well as a tooth injury. When a tooth is injured, the pulp can become damaged, even if no cracks or chips are visible. If the pulp is not treated with a root canal and the inflammation or infection removed, pain can increase, and an abscess can be created.
Common Signs You Need a Root Canal
Knowing if you need a root canal as a patient can be tricky. At our office, we can easily review your symptoms and see if your tooth is subject to pulp inflammation or infection. In general, if you are experiencing any of the common symptoms, then you most likely need a root canal. Such symptoms can include discoloration of the tooth, the tender feeling when you touch the tooth or chew, or a prolonged sensitivity to cold or heat.
You may also have pain in the area of the tooth as well as swelling. Lymph nodes near the area can become tender, and drainage may occur. However, in some cases, there are no symptoms. This is why regular visits to the dentist are important so that any issues can be caught promptly.
How Will a Root Canal Save the Tooth?
A tooth can be saved when infection or inflammation has set in with the help of a root canal treatment. The pulp of the tooth must be accessed and removed. The dentist will remove the infected pulp, cleaning and shaping the inside of the root canal. Once the pulp has been removed, the empty space is filled and sealed.
After the process is completed, you will need to return to have a crown or other restoration method provided to protect the tooth and allow full function. Once the crown is added, you can eat and drink freely without any restrictions.
For more information about root canal procedures, call the experienced professionals here at Colin M. McKinney, DMD at (772) 266-2223 today!