Endodontic treatment, also known as a root canal treatment, is a relatively painless treatment of the tooth aimed at clearing infection as well as protecting the tooth from subsequent infections.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue (nerve chamber), and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but is detrimental to your overall health as well. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Teeth that require endodontic treatment are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include:
- Severe toothache
- Pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- Dark discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
- Pain that wakes you up at night or prevents sleep
- Pain that doesn’t respond to advil or tylenol
What happens during endodontic treatment?
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits during which your Dr. Hallett removes the affected tissue. After the tissue is removed, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental restoration. If your tooth had extensive decay, Dr. Hallett will suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Most teeth can be saved by endodontic treatment; however, tooth extraction may be necessary if:
- Roots are severely fractured
- The tooth does not have adequate bone support
- The tooth cannot be restored
- Root canals are not accessible
Endodontic treatment is intended to help save your tooth from extraction. Missing teeth can make you self-conscious, affect your ability to bite and chew, cause other healthy teeth to shift, and have a negative impact on your overall health. By choosing to receive endodontic treatment, you are choosing to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come.