Root canal therapy, a treatment that focuses on the internal tissues of the tooth, is most often performed because of severe decay or damage that has introduce infection to the tooth pulp. This damage often occurs due to trauma.
Reasons for a Root Canal
If you have a tooth that has severe decay or has been damage in an accident, you might require root canal therapy. This treatment is the best way to preserve your tooth, and in many cases the only way to prevent having a tooth extracted. The procedure, performed by an endodontist, removes all the infected tissue from the tooth’s interior. This has the side effect of removing the tooth’s ability to sense temperature and pressure, but even without sensation the tooth is perfectly usable. Many teeth, once they’ve been repaired in this way, will last the rest of your life.
The most common reasons for root canal therapy include:
- Severe decay that allows bacteria into the tooth’s interior
- Cracks, breaks, or chips due to trauma
- Large fillings
- Severe trauma to the tooth, usually from an accident
Root canal therapy clears all the infected tissue out of the tooth. The interior soft tissues, called the pulp, are replaced with a sterile filler that seals the tooth. In most cases, the tooth is then treated with a dental crown so it will be usable for biting and chewing.
Symptoms to Look out For
In some cases, such as when your tooth is severely damaged in an accident, it will be immediately apparent to our endodontist that a root canal is necessary. In other cases, you might experience symptoms over a period of time that indicate there is a problem with the pulp in a tooth. Some symptoms to keep in mind include:
- Sensitivity that persists after the hot or cold stimulus has been removed
- Swelling around the base of the tooth
- A persistent bump or “pimple” on the gum
- Persistent toothache
These symptoms should be evaluated promptly to determine the cause and whether or not root canal therapy is needed. Call the office of Access Endodontics to learn more about treatment and what we can do for you.