A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat an infection in the pulp of the teeth. The pulp is the soft nerve tissue located in the inner portion of a tooth. A pulp infection is caused by exposure to dental bacteria via a fracture in the tooth that enters the pulp, a forceful blow to the face, or deep cavities. In such a case, the tooth begins to die and root canal treatment is needed to get rid of infection and prevent tooth loss.
The following signs may indicate an infection in the root canal of a tooth:
- Severe pain in the tooth upon application of pressure or while chewing
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- A recurring pimple on the gums
- Tenderness and swelling in nearby gums
A root canal treatment involves disinfecting the tooth by removing all the infected lymph tissue, nerve tissue, bacteria and blood tissue from the pulp chamber and the canals. The procedure begins with the administration of a local anesthetic in order to prevent you from feeling any pain during the treatment. The pulp chamber and the canals of the tooth are accessed using a dental drill. Once the canals have been cleaned and flushed, they are filled with a filling material to prevent reinfection. A protective covering such as a crown may be placed to strengthen the tooth and prevent fracturing.
It is common to feel slight sensitivity and pain for some days after the procedure. This should subside with the use of over-the-counter pain medication. It is best to minimize chewing using the healing tooth until a permanent restoration has been placed over it. This will prevent reinfection and tooth breakage till the tooth heals completely.
For more information about root canal therapy, please schedule a consultation at our office by calling (773) 482-3206.