Need a root canal? You’re not alone. Millions of teeth are saved each year with the root canal — or endodontic — treatment. A root canal can relieve your tooth pain and save your smile.
What is a root canal?
To understand, it helps to know something about tooth anatomy. Inside your tooth, beneath the enamel and a slightly softer layer called dentin, is a soft tissue called pulp. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots, and contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development, but once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp, because the tissues surrounding it nourish the tooth.
Sometimes, the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. This can happen due to deep decay (cavities), repeated dental procedures on a tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. Sometimes an injury may cause pulp damage, even if the tooth isn’t visibly affected. If pulp inflammation is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess. Here at Southridge Dental, Dr. Simper knows how to identify and delicately handle endodontic procedures.
During a root canal, the dentist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterward, you will return to the dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect it and restore it to full function. You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had this restoration. A root canal treated tooth is susceptible to fracture, so be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible. After restoration, the tooth can function like normal.
How do you know if you need a root canal?
There are a few symptoms that mean you might need a root canal:
– Severe pain while chewing or biting
– A chipped or cracked tooth
– Pimples on the gums (abscess)
– Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the hot/cold substance has been removed
– Deep decay or darkening of the gums
– Swollen or tender gums
If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, and can even be life threatening in some cases. If you need a root canal, please don’t wait! Call Southridge Dental at (509) 581-0081 and we will schedule you for our next available appointment.