What is a Root Canal?
A tooth’s structure is composed of three layers; the outermost is the enamel, followed by the dentin, and at the core lies the bundle of nerves and blood vessels called the pulp. Endodontics (Root Canal) is the dental specialty focused on diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the dental pulp.
The Greek word “Endodontics” literally means “inside the tooth,” and relates to the tooth pulp, tissues, nerves, and arterioles.
Root Canal Procedures
Although there are several endodontic procedures, by far the most common is the dreaded root canal. Root canals are necessary when bacteria penetrate the enamel and dentin through a cavity, causing an infection at the dental pulp. When this occurs, the pulp needs to be removed to prevent the infection from spreading and harming the tooth so severely that it needs to be extracted. Root canals may cause discomfort, but it is ultimately much less than the pain triggered by the infection itself.
Reasons for Root Canal Treatment
- Bacterial infections – Oral bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria invade the tooth pulp through tiny fissures in the teeth caused by tooth decay or injury. The resulting inflammation and bacterial infection jeopardize the affected tooth and may cause an abscess to form.
- Fractures and chips – When a large part of the surface or crown of the tooth has become completely detached, root canal therapy may be required. The removal of the crown portion leaves the pulp exposed, which can be debilitating painful and problematic.
- Injuries – Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the mouth area. Some injuries cause a tooth to become luxated or dislodged from its socket. Root canal therapy is often needed after the endodontist has successfully stabilized the injured tooth.
- Removals – If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important to rinse it and place it back into the socket as quickly as possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in special dental solution (available at pharmacies) or in milk. These steps will keep the inner mechanisms of the tooth moist and alive while emergency dental treatment is sought. The tooth will be affixed in its socket using a special splint, and the endodontist will then perform root canal therapy to save the tooth.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
Signs and symptoms of Root Canal problems include:
- Inflammation and tenderness in the gums.
- Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods.
- Tenderness when chewing and biting.
- Tooth discoloration.
- Unexplained pain in the nearby lymph nodes.
Do You Need Endodontic Treatment in Houston, Texas?
Endodontic treatment (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth.
With the skilled experts at Beechnut Dental Care, you do not need to fear. We have the advanced dental technology and experience to make your next procedure effective and comfortable. Contact us today to learn more!