Root canal therapy is needed when the pulp of a tooth, comprised of nerves and blood vessels, is damaged from deep decay, trauma, cracks or infection. Root canal therapy is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and need to be extracted to eliminate recurring infection and pain. In order to save the tooth, the infected pulp, bacterial infection, and any decay are removed. The resulting space leaves tunnels called canals in the tooth which are then filled with special medicated, dental materials.
Some root canals can be performed by your dentist, while other more complex cases may be referred to a specialist called an Endodontist. To fully restore the tooth to its full function, the dentist or Endodontist will recommend the foundation of the tooth be rebuilt and a crown placed to hold the tooth together following root canal therapy.
Many people believe extracting a problem tooth is the only or best solution, but that is not always the case. Excessive pulling of teeth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems with the remaining teeth in the mouth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and can usually last a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated or eventually extracted due to recurring infections.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF POSSIBLE ROOT CANAL THERAPY:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
- Exaggerated sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache pain
- Swelling and/or tenderness
- Sometimes no symptoms are present