Root canals offer a painless solution to solve the many problems caused by severe tooth decay. The procedure is efficient and does not cause any lasting damage or discomfort for patients, whom experience instant relief from their symptoms once treatment begins and have their smile’s integrated fully restored in the process!
Understanding The Tooth’s Structure
To best understand the root canal process, it’s crucial to first learn about the structure of the teeth and the different layers each tooth consists of.
Enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in the body, and makes up the outer layer of the teeth. Being the tooth’s first line of defense, the enamel encapsulates the inner more sensitive areas and shields their exposure and is what gives healthy teeth their white appearance. The thickness of enamel varies depending on the location of the tooth; it is typically thicker at the chewing surfaces and thinner at the cervical regions.
Tooth decay first forms amongst the tooth’s enamel, meaning this layer is prone to cavities. Most cavities, if detected and treated in time, won’t penetrate deeper than this layer. However, if not dealt with in time the tooth decay will continue to develop and progress deeper into the tooth’s more sensitive and unforgiving layers.
Dentin is the sensitive tooth layer that lies under the enamel. It’s made up of tiny hallow tubes that run from the pulp (the center of the tooth) to the dentin surface. When you eat or drink something hot or cold, the dentin is what transmits those sensations to the pulp. Dentin is also harder than bone, but not as hard as enamel, this is why tooth decay reaching this layer is generally seen as dangerous and should be rectified immediately!
The inner core of the tooth is called the pulp. It’s a small, spongy tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves. The pulp extends from the crown (visible part) of the tooth to the root, and it’s protected from its external environment from the previous mentioned layers. The pulp is important because it provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth.
If the pulp becomes damaged or infected from untreated tooth decay or infection, it can be extremely painful and ultimately cause the tooth to die. A root canal procedure is used to remove the damaged pulp, replace it, and save the integrity of tooth.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
Root canal treatment becomes necessary when the nerve tissue inside the tooth becomes damaged or infected. This can happen as a result of decay, injury, or disease. Symptoms that may indicate the need for root canal treatment include;
- severe toothache
- sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- visible swelling around the tooth
- darkening of the tooth
- a painful puss-filled pocket forming along the gums (abscess)
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible to determine if root canal treatment is necessary. With prompt treatment, root canal therapy can save your tooth and help you avoid further complications down the road.
Restoring The Tooth
The root canal process is the most viable option used to save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. During a root canal procedure, the damaged pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed. This helps to prevent further infection and restores the tooth to its intended function and integrity.
Although a root canal can be a lengthy procedure, it is often successful in restoring a damaged tooth and is the best option to combat severe tooth decay!
Trust the Process
While root canals are no easy procedure, a trained professional makes it look like a walk in the park. As they are typically performed in these three easy steps.
The first step of the process is an x-ray that will pinpoint the exact location and severity of your symptoms. A professional may prescribe antibiotics during this time to help reduce inflammation (especially if you have an abscess).
Once the tooth is ready for preparation, an access is drilled into the tooth so the pulp, bacteria and other debris can be easily removed. A focus on your comfort throughout this process is always ensured; once you’re in an optimal state of being, professionals then numb the targeted area with local anesthesia and begin removing the infected areas!
After the infection has been fully irradicated, a professional may apply some medicine to ensure that your tooth remains free from any remaining trace. If you require an additional visit for this procedure- which is quite rare – temporary fillings will be put in place and relief should set in immediately!
All in all, the final outcome will be a healthy root canal system forever sealed away! If you are experiencing any of the discomforting symptoms mentioned above, and believe you may be in need of a root canal, please contact a capable dental professional immediately!