Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure to treat a severely decayed or infected tooth. It involves the removal of the damaged or infected pulp tissue from the inside of the tooth and then cleaning, shaping, and filling the root canals with a biocompatible material to prevent further infection. When the pulp tissue, containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, becomes infected or inflamed, it can cause severe pain and swelling, and if left untreated, can lead to an abscess or even tooth loss.
Common Reasons for a Root Canal Treatment
Tooth decay can occur when the bacteria in your mouth produce acids that attack the tooth’s enamel, causing cavities. If left untreated, the decay can progress deeper into the tooth and infect the pulp, requiring a root canal. Trauma to the tooth, such as a chip or crack, can damage the pulp, leading to infection or inflammation. Advanced gum disease can cause the gums to recede and expose the tooth’s roots, making them vulnerable to infection and decay. According to battledental.com, teeth that have undergone multiple dental procedures, such as fillings or crowns, can become weakened and more susceptible to infection and decay.
Root Canal Treatment Process
The dentist will numb the tooth and surrounding area with a local anesthetic. He will then create an opening on the top of the tooth and use specialized instruments to remove the damaged pulp tissue and clean out the root canals. According to the American Association of Endodontists, after thoroughly cleaning the root canals, the dentist will fill them with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material, and seal the tooth with a filling or crown to protect it from further damage or infection.
The Benefits of Root Canal Therapy
Relieve pain: Root canal therapy helps to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with a damaged or infected tooth. Once the dentist removes the damaged pulp tissue, the pressure and inflammation causing the pain are relieved.
Save the natural tooth: Root canal therapy is often the best way to save a severely damaged or infected tooth. By removing the damaged pulp tissue and filling the root canals, the dentist can help to preserve the natural tooth structure and prevent the need for extraction.
Prevent further infection: An infected tooth can cause serious problems if left untreated, including the spread of infection to other parts of the body. Root canal therapy removes the infection source and helps to prevent it from spreading.
Restore normal tooth function: The tooth can function normally without pain or sensitivity after root canal therapy. Patients can chew, speak, and smile confidently without worrying about discomfort or embarrassment.
Improve overall oral health: Root canal therapy can help to maintain the alignment of surrounding teeth and prevent further oral health problems by preserving the natural tooth structure.
Root canal therapy is a safe and effective dental procedure providing long-lasting benefits for patients with severely damaged or infected teeth. It is important to discuss your options with a dental professional to determine if root canal therapy is right for you.