What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy, also known as a root canal or endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure that involves the treatment of an inflamed or tooth pulp. The tooth pulp is the soft substance found in the center of our tooth that is made up of blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves. During a root canal treatment, the nerve of the tooth is treated. This is done by removing the pulp of the tooth while the pulp chamber and the canals of the tooth are filled to seal them from any bacteria that could enter.

Why should I get a root canal?

There are various reasons why an individual has to consider a root canal treatment. The most common ones include:

  • To alleviate tooth pain. When the pulp of the tooth becomes infected, toothache can occur. The patient will experience extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures as well, and this may eventually lead to continued sensitivity and pain even when there is no stimulus.
  • The tooth has become abscessed. A root canal treatment is needed if the tooth has already become abscessed. This occurs when the tooth pulp dies, forming a pus pocket around the tip of the root. The pus can accumulate in an area and eventually get infected with bacteria. When left untreated, the infection can continue to spread to the underlying bone of the tooth root, leading to tooth loss.
  • Deep cavity is present. Tooth decay can extend into the deeper parts of the tooth and into the pulp. When this happens, the pulp may become inflamed and become too painful for the individual.

What happens during root canal therapy?

Initially, the dentist will numb your gums using a topical substance. Local anesthesia will then be injected to completely numb the whole area. Using a small rubber sheet, your decayed tooth may be separated from healthy teeth. Drills and other tools will then be used to remove the pulp from the treated tooth. The hollowed portion of the tooth will then be filled with a root canal filling. Oftentimes, a dental crown or cap will be needed to support the tooth.

What should I expect after root canal therapy?

Immediately after a root canal procedure, your gums and lips may still be numb until the anesthetic wears off in about a few hours. There could be throbbing pain later on, but this can be treated with pain medications. It is important to consult your doctor for any medications that you are planning to take.