What Is A Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure dentists perform used to save an infected tooth. This procedure can prevent tooth loss by cleaning and disinfecting the canals inside of the root of an infected tooth. Then, a filling is permanently put into the hollowed-out tooth before topping it off with a crown to prevent a new infection from taking root. According to the American Association of Endodontists, root canals are safe and highly successful procedures. Before the procedure, it’s helpful to know what is a root canal and signs that the treatment might be right for you.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

Why would a tooth need root canal therapy? Decay, dental trauma, chips, or cracks to a tooth can all cause damage to the tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp. The pulp is the soft area inside of a tooth. Once damaged, the pulp can also become infected. This infection can lead to other oral health issues like toothaches and bad breath. Some signs that you might need a root canal include the following:

  • Severe pain, including while chewing or biting
  • Toothaches
  • Swelling in your face and neck
  • Long-lasting sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Decayed or darkened gums

It is important to take care of a decayed or infected tooth as soon as possible. If left untreated, an infection can cause you to lose your tooth or surrounding bone. Since oral health is directly connected to overall health, this infection can also cause further complications. Eventually, you might need a more complex or more expensive procedure. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your dentist right away. And before the procedure, learn what a root canal is.

What is a Root Canal Procedure?

The procedure for a root canal is used to save an infected tooth rather than removing it. Before a root canal, your dentist will take an x-ray to look for the extent of the infection and how it has impacted your tooth. At the beginning of the procedure, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to keep you comfortable.

A root canal begins with drilling a small hole into the tooth. Your dentist will clean out any infected or damaged tissue inside of the root of the tooth. After, your dentist will seal the tooth temporarily to keep food and other contaminants out before the next appointment. At a follow-up appointment, your dentist will fill the interior of the tooth with a permanent filling. Finally, your dentist will place a crown on top of the tooth to keep it protected and secure.

 One benefit of your new crown is that it can be stronger than your natural teeth, which might have enamel which has worn away.

Once you know what a root canal is, you can plan for your procedure. Caring for your restored tooth involves simply brushing and flossing as usual and going to your dentist for regular dental exams. If you have multiple teeth that require a root canal, your dentist will work with you to develop a treatment plan for your specific needs. 

Root Canals at Columbia Smiles

At our dental practice in Columbia, MD, we provide root canal procedures to the Howard County area. During our 35 years as a practice, we have remained committed to patient care and providing a comfortable experience. We understand that going to the dentist is not everyone’s favorite activity, so we work hard to make sure our practice is welcoming. Find out why we have been named “Best Dental Practice” 19 times by Howard Magazine. If you need a root canal, contact us today by calling 410.690.4855.