What Is a Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal is a dental (endodontic) treatment that removes the decayed or damaged pulp from inside a tooth, enabling the body’s defense system to repair any damage caused by an infection. The tooth is then cleaned carefully and disinfected before it’s filled and sealed. This helps prevent a new infection from occurring and saves the natural tooth. Without treatment, the bacteria in the pulp chamber will begin to multiply and form an abscess near a tooth’s roots. This can then cause an infection that spreads beyond the roots, which can cause swelling, bone loss around the tooth’s roots, and even the death of the tooth.
Root Canal Causes
When the pulp inside the tooth becomes inflamed, diseased or injured, or unable to repair itself, it can become infected. If left untreated, an infected tooth may have to be extracted. This type of damage to a tooth is usually caused by the following:
- Trauma to the face
- Deep tooth decay
- Chipping or Cracking
Unfortunately, not all teeth are perfectly healthy, but since it is better to keep your natural teeth, a root canal is generally the best option.
When Is a Root Canal Needed?
Only a dentist can tell for sure whether or not you’ll need a root canal; however, there are warning signs that can be indicative of an infection. These include:
Persistent Pain: If you’re feeling constant pain in your tooth or additional pain in your jaw, other teeth, or face, you may need a root canal. It’s important to visit your dentist if this pain continues, as early intervention is key to preventing further problems.
Teeth Sensitivity: Feeling a dull ache or sharp pain in your teeth while eating or drinking hot or cold liquids could be a sign of infection—especially if this pain continues after you’ve stopped eating or drinking.
Tooth or Gum Discoloration: Teeth that suddenly take on a gray or black appearance is a sign of inadequate blood supply, which is often caused by an infection. Additionally, if your gums begin to darken, it’s a sign of decay and needs to be remedied quickly.
Swelling: Even if the swelling comes and goes or isn’t painful to the touch, it could still be a sign of an infection.
Gum Boils: These look like little pimples on your gums and may ooze pus. If you’re noticing a constant unpleasant taste in your mouth or unusually bad breath, you should contact a dentist.
Tooth Mobility: Dead pulp tissue emits acidic waste products that can cause nerve death or bone loss, which can lead to a tooth feeling loose.
Root Canal Treatment
A root canal procedure involves a number of steps to ensure the infected tooth pulp is completely cleaned out and the tooth is properly filled.
Here’s what happens during the procedure:
- X-rays: Before getting a root canal, patients will get an X-ray to determine the shape of the canals and check for infection of the bone around the canal.
- Numbing: Your dentist will thoroughly numb the area to be treated using a local anesthetic.
- Drilling: Next, the dentist will drill a hole in the tooth and remove the pulp and bacteria through this hole.
- Sealing: Finally, the dentist will place a rubber compound into the root canal where the infection was removed and place a filling over it. Sealing may happen once the tooth is completely cleaned out and free of bacteria or at a follow-up appointment.
Benefits of a Root Canal
There are a number of benefits to saving your natural tooth by getting a root canal procedure. These include:
- Maintaining your natural smile
- Reducing the need for additional dental work
- Relieving pain
- Less expensive than tooth extraction and implants
- Continuing to bite and chew properly
- Cosmetically appealing
Still Not Sure About A Root Canal?
If you’re still unsure about having a root canal procedure, there are some alternatives:
- Extraction: The infected tooth is removed and replaced with a bridge, crown, or partial denture.
- Natural Remedies: It’s important to note that natural remedies can only help manage pain caused by a root canal. The only way to clear out an infection is by visiting a dentist, but remedies such as essential oils, salt water rinse, herbal teas, and aloe vera gel can help ease the pain until then.
- Ozone Gas: This can irrigate the cavity and clear out the infection.
- Calcium Hydroxide: Similar to ozone gas, calcium hydroxide can also irrigate the canal and prevent bacteria from growing.
After Root Canal Treatment
Following a root canal treatment, it is vital to keep the tooth stabilized and strong. It is usually preferred to use a crown restoration due to the unusual amount of lost tooth structure from decay and/or old fillings.
Schedule Your Root Canal in Salt Lake City
If you’re looking to get a root canal near you, contact us at South Temple Dental. Our team is proud to be the number one choice for Salt Lake City root canal, and we’re committed to keeping you comfortable and relaxed during your procedure. Call South Temple Dental today to discuss your needs or to schedule this important dental procedure as soon as possible.