What Is a Root Canal For?

If you have been to the dentist, you have probably heard about root canals. But what is a root canal for? Here's what you need to know.

Are you suffering from chronic tooth pain? Has your dentist told you that you need a root canal? By 2030, the root canal market is anticipated to be worth $1410.46 million.

You might be wondering what this procedure is. When you need one, though, it can save your tooth from having to be removed. By having it treated and repairing the nerve, it prevents the death of a tooth.

So, what is a root canal for, anyway? Here’s everything you need to know before your next trip to the dentist.

An Overview of Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected pulp from inside a tooth, cleaning the canals, and sealing the space to prevent further infection.

A local endodontist typically uses the treatment for teeth that are severely damaged, decayed, or have become infected and helps prevent a tooth from needing to be removed. This procedure helps to maintain the patient’s natural tooth and protect it from future damage.

Determining the Cause of Root Canal Pain

Root canal pain is often caused by inflammation or infection of the tooth roots. Decay, trauma, or cracks can cause inflammation and infection in the tooth that allows bacteria to enter the pulp chamber of the tooth.

Sometimes, a person may have a medical condition, such as an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and infection. Other causes of root canal pain can include cysts and other growths near the roots of the teeth, the buildup of tartar, and gum disease.

Common Symptoms of an Infected Tooth Root

An infected tooth root can often produce several symptoms and dental problems. It’s significant to seek medical help as soon as possible. Without prompt treatment, root canal infections can spread and further damage the teeth, gums, and surrounding structures.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can be a common symptom of an infected tooth root. This happens when bacteria spread between the teeth and the soft tissues of the mouth, leading to a buildup of plaque and a foul odor.

A Swollen, Tender Jaw

Swollen, tender jaw occurs when the infection reaches the periodontal ligament, which attaches the tooth to the jawbone. You can experience this through tenderness and sensitivity when eating or speaking.

Swelling may also be accompanied by redness, pus, and heat in the area. In severe cases, it can spread to affect the entire side of the face.

Discoloration of the Tooth

The infection can spread to the enamel, the outermost layer of the tooth. This will cause the enamel to appear yellowish or greyish.

Bacteria associated with infection can also produce pigments that further darken the enamel. Also, pulp or chemical irritation can cause the enamel of the tooth to become discolored.

Fever and Swollen Lymph Nodes

Fever is a response to the infection, and the body sends infection-fighting white blood cells to the site of infection via the lymphatic system. This results in enlarged lymph nodes, visibly in the neck area. This is a sign of a more serious infection, and seek help from a dental or medical professional.

A Lump of Pus Near the Affected Area

When your body’s natural response to infection is to fight it off, an inflammatory response can cause a lump filled with pus near the affected area. This inflammatory response can cause the affected area to become a mass of pus.

This pus is a sign that your body is fighting off the infection by creating a wall of defense. You need to seek treatment to clear up the infection.

Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Temperatures

An infected tooth root may include sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This sensitivity occurs because the infection reduces the stability of the root and opens up the nerve endings to contact with extreme temperatures. This sensitivity can be acute and persistent and may occur without external stimulus. 

Pain When Chewing or Biting on the Tooth

Pain when chewing or biting can show an infected tooth root. When the tooth root is infected, the inner pulp of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels live can become inflamed; this causes pain when chewing or biting down on the tooth.

As the infection progresses, the inflammation increases, and the nerve endings can become more irritated; this increases pain when biting and chewing. If the infection is not treated, it can cause the tooth to die and become even more painful.

Exploring the Process of a Root Canal Procedure

Exploring the process of a root canal procedure can be daunting. It allows a dentist to repair an infected or damaged tooth.

When decay causes the dentin and pulp layer deep within the tooth to become infected, you need a root canal procedure to prevent the infection from spreading.

Numbing the Area

The dentist will inject a local anesthetic into the area to ensure it is numb before work begins. This helps to eliminate any pain or discomfort associated with the procedure and makes it much more comfortable for the patient.

Once the numbing takes effect, our professional team can begin the next steps of the root canal procedure.

Drill an Access Hole Into the Tooth

During this process, the dentist uses a dental drill to create a small hole in the affected tooth to access the interior chamber of the tooth. This locates the infected dental pulp. This step may also involve a dental handpiece to expand the access hole.

To ensure that the access hole is deep enough to allow entry into the root canal, the dentist will take several x-rays of the tooth before beginning the root canal procedure.

Clean and Shape the Inner Canals of the Tooth

The dentist will use specialized tools to remove damaged tissue, bacteria, and debris. These tools clean, shape, and enlarge the inner canals such that a rubber-like material can be placed in them. The goal is to create a shaped, bacteria-free environment for root canal filling.

Fill the Canals

The dentist will fill the canal with gutta-percha and a cement-like material. This biocompatible material seals and protects the tooth from further infections or damage. After the canals have been filled and sealed, they may place a crown on the tooth to provide protection and strength. 

Seeking Appropriate Care Post-Root Canal Treatment

After you complete the root canal procedure, dentists usually prescribe antibiotics, such as Amoxicillin, to prevent infection. They can also prescribe pain medications to reduce any discomfort.

Maintain proper oral hygiene, which includes regular brushing, flossing, and regular visits with your dentist for check-ups and professional dental care. Avoid chewing hard and sticky foods that can damage the restored tooth, and use a night guard to protect against nightly teeth grinding.

The root canal site may take two to six weeks to heal fully. During this period, contact your dentist if you experience ongoing pain or swelling or any signs of infection.

The Benefits of a Root Canal Procedure

Root canal procedures can ease pain and discomfort by removing infection or decay from the tooth’s root canal. This allows the person to get relief without needing to replace the tooth. 

There are also cosmetic benefits associated with a root canal procedure. After the procedure, the person may notice that their smile appears brighter and whiter because of the removal of the decayed material in the root canal.

In more serious cases, a root canal can prevent the need for more extensive treatments, such as extraction or future surgery, and protect your surrounding teeth from developing infections.

Additionally, it can restore normal biting and chewing function, preserve natural facial aesthetics, and protect other teeth from additional damage due to misaligned bites.

Risks Associated with Root Canal Treatment

Possible risks with root canal treatment include infection, pain, bleeding, and tissue damage. During the procedure, bacteria can be driven further into the root of the tooth so that any infection may worsen. There can also be inflammation and pain after the procedure, as the area around the root is delicate.

Bleeding can occur during the drilling if the seal of the tooth is broken. Finally, drilling and connecting the root canals can damage surrounding tissue and cause complications. You can minimize these risks through an experienced and qualified dentist.

The dentist can monitor the procedure regularly and take preventative measures to reduce the chances of infection and other undesirable side effects.

The Cost of Root Canal Treatment

The cost of root canal treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition, the location of the tooth, and the experience level of the dentist. On average, a root canal will cost between $600 to $1,200.

Some insurance companies may cover the cost, but be aware of out-of-pocket costs. You may also reduce the cost of the procedure if you opt to get multiple teeth all done at the same time.

Follow This Guide About What Is a Root Canal For

A root canal is a necessary procedure to save your natural tooth and prevent long-term damage to dental health. Consider its causes, symptoms, and cost of having a root canal treatment. It is also significant to weigh the benefits versus the risks associated.

What is a root canal for? It’s a relatively simple, safe procedure that can save you from a lifetime of pain, infection, and tooth loss. If you have any issues leading to the need for a root canal, contact your local dentist for treatment options.

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