When is a Root Canal Required?
A root canal is usually performed on a cracked tooth or a tooth with decay or cavity that has reached the nerve or pulp of the tooth. Decay can come from the top of the tooth ( or chewing surface), or from the bottom of the tooth, around the roots of the tooth. Once bacteria have managed to reach the pulp of the tooth, it cannot be removed. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and tissue which provide nourishment to the tooth. This entire pulp once affected by bacteria must be cleaned out of the tooth canal or canals.
The Root Canal Procedure
Once the decayed tooth has been anesthetized, the dentist makes an access or hole through the top part of the tooth and into the pulp chamber. The dentist will then use tiny filling instruments to clean, and shape the canal or canals while removing the diseased tissue and bacteria. The canal or canals are cleaned, disinfected and filled with a material to prevent future infection. The access or hole in the tooth is then restored with a crown, filling, or possibly an onlay or inlay.
However, if the tooth is unable to be properly removed, or if bacteria has damaged the tooth beyond repair, the tooth may have to be extracted.
Symptoms that may indicate Root Canal Therapy
- Hot or cold sensitivity that won’t subside in a short time.
- Pain when chewing or eating.
- Throbbing pain that wakes you up or prevents you from sleeping.
- Just touching the tooth hurts.
- Spontaneous pain that comes and goes and lasts for more than a couple of seconds.
- Pain that gets progressively worse and is unbearable.