Root Canal, or endodontics, is the process of removing the nerves from the roots of a tooth. A root canal is often necessary to save a tooth that has become infected, broken or painful. If such a tooth is left alone for a long period of time, an abscess can form. This is actually bone loss in the jaw. It is very important to catch this problem before it deteriorates too far. This infection can become very serious, even life threatening. An abscess may cause swelling in the mouth or face spreading the infection. This scenario requires immediate attention.
There are a number of reasons why one of your teeth may need a root canal. These include but are not limited to, a very deep cavity that extends into the nerve, a trauma to the tooth that exposes or damages the nerve, a crack in the tooth that extends into the nerve of the tooth, or a tooth that dies for no apparent reason.
- Moderate to severe lingering toothache pain when drinking hot or cold liquids or foods
- Moderate to severe pain when biting on a tooth
- Sensitivity to tapping or pressure on the tooth
- Toothache that wakes you up in the middle of the night
- A pimple on your gum that may release pus or blood
- Radiating pain from one area of the mouth to another
The first step of the procedure is to anesthetize the effected area. The next step is to open an access point through the top, or biting surface of the tooth. The tooth is hollow in the middle with narrow tubes running the length of the roots. This is the area that the nerve of the tooth occupies. Each canal is then cleaned and shaped in preparation for the filling material. Once each canal is shaped, it is filled with an inert material called gutta percha, thus sealing the canals. The tooth is now ready for a restoration, which is usually a crown. This entire procedure is often completed in two or more visits.