Root Canal treatment (also known as endodontic therapy or endodontics) is performed when tooth decay has reached all the way to the pulp of the tooth, often damaging the nerve in the process. Since this can easily be prevented by regular checkups and cleanings, all of which reduce the risk of tooth decay and allow us to detect any potential problems early on, tooth decay generally only gets this far through neglect. In some cases, though, trauma to the tooth or consequences of certain types of restorations can damage the nerve sufficiently to require a root canal. If the nerve has been damaged, or if a cavity manages to reach the pulp, the pulp becomes infected and spreads the rot through the root and into the bone of your jaw or skull. The rot eats away at the bone and can cause serious damage if left untreated. This damage is called an abscess. Not only can it damage the bone of your skull or jaw, but this can also compromise your entire immune system. If the pulp of your tooth is infected, then it will be completely unable to heal on its own, so you need to come in for treatment by a root canal specialist at our offices. Your pulp being infected can be dangerous and extremely painful, and it’s always best to take care of the problem as quickly as possible.
If the pulp of one of your teeth becomes infected, then you may experience:
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Increased sensitivity to sweets
- Tooth pain, especially when biting or chewing
It is also possible, however, that you will experience no symptoms even if the pulp of your tooth has become infected. In these cases, you will be unaware of what is happening to your tooth until we detect it during your regular checkup.
Once we find the infection of the pulp, we’ll let you know what’s going on and discuss when to schedule a root canal. At the start of the procedure, our root canal specialist will remove the infected pulp and clean out your tooth, making sure to disinfect it along the way to prevent further damage. When this is done, we’ll fill in the canals of your tooth to make sure it doesn’t get infected again. In most cases, we’ll recommend getting a crown and a core build-up to completely restore your tooth after root canal therapy. If for any reason, you are uncomfortable with the idea of a root canal, or if the damage has spread too far, the other option would be to extract the tooth entirely.