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What is a Root Canal?

If you are experiencing severe pain in a tooth, there is a chance that the pulp of the tooth has become infected or inflamed. This infection and inflammation needs to be treated as soon as possible to heal the tooth, and protect your overall oral health. In order to clean the tooth and ensure your ongoing oral health, your dentist will need to perform root canal therapy.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy (commonly referred to as a “root canal”) is a dental procedure that involves the cleaning out of the root canals of a tooth—removing the diseased, dead or damaged pulp. This is a necessary procedure that helps to ensure that the tooth doesn’t become so damaged that it needs to be extracted. While many people think of root canal therapy as a painful procedure, the actual pain is minimal. What is painful is if a patient allows the pulp infection to persist.

What Causes Pulp Damage?

There are a few different issues that can lead to pulp damage or death. These include severe cavities, cracked teeth and other forms of injury. These issues leave the pulp open to damage and infection, which requires root canal therapy to repair.

What Are the Signs of a Root Pulp Infection?

There are a few different signs that a root pulp is infected—most of which involving extreme discomfort. Some of the signs to look for to see if you are suffering from a root pulp infection include:

  • Sensitivity and discomfort when eating cold and hot foods.
  • Pain while biting and chewing.
  • Ongoing pain.
  • Discoloration of the tooth.

It is important to visit your dentist when you notice any of these symptoms. If the issue is caught early on, the tooth may simply have a cavity, in which the dentist can remove the decay and place a filling. If you wait too long, though, the infection can spread and compromise the tooth entirely.

What to Expect During Root Canal Therapy

Once you’ve noticed that your tooth is discolored and/or you are experiencing pain, you’ll want to set an appointment with your dentist for a consultation. Your dentist will take a look at your tooth, and will likely x-ray the area. Once they have decided that you are suffering from a root pulp infection, they will begin the root canal therapy procedure.

During the procedure, your dentist will numb the area with local anesthesia to ensure minimal discomfort. They will then make an opening in the tooth. The root canals and pulp chamber will be cleaned out, and the canals will be filled with a rubbery material that is placed with dental cement. A filling will be placed, and a crown may also be placed.

Speak with Your Dentist

For any pain or discomfort, make sure to speak with your dentist. During an appointment, your dentist can take a look at the tooth to diagnose the issue. From there, they can treat the tooth to ensure your ongoing oral health.

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