What is a root canal?
A root canal procedure is when a dentist removes the inner pulp from a tooth following an infection. When this tissue becomes infected, it puts pressure on the nerve, causing severe pain. Removing the pulp rids the patient of the infection, frees them from pain, and keeps their teeth usable for longer.
The name comes from the structure inside the tooth where the pulp is located. Below the enamel and dentin of the tooth is an interconnected series of canals within the tooth roots. These canals house the blood and nervous supply to the tooth.
What’s involved in a root canal?
Root canal treatment takes one or two appointments. Your caring dentist in Torrance, CA will drill a small hole into the crown of the tooth, so that the pulp can be accessed using fine instruments.
Over the course of one or two sessions, all of the pulp will be removed from the root canals. Afterwards, the tooth is filled with a gum-like substance to preserve the structural integrity of the tooth, and prevent reinfection.
Finally, a crown is placed over the tooth to restore the biting surface and close the hole used to access the pulp.
Are root canals painful?
The actual root canal procedure is not painful. Local anesthetic is used to numb the site so the dentist can work without hurting the patient. There is some swelling and tenderness following the procedure, but this eases quickly and is typically managed with over the counter pain medication.
Most of the pain associated with root canals is actually the pain of the infection itself. It’s the purpose of the procedure to relieve this pain, not cause it!
Do I need a root canal?
The biggest sign you need a root canal is pain. This could be a constant pain, or only become apparent when biting or chewing. There are other indicators as well, including:
• Reddening and swelling of the gums around a tooth
• Persistent bad breath
• Lumps in the gum around the tooth
• Darkening or staining of the affected tooth
Unfortunately, it’s also possible there are no obvious symptoms. Your Carson family dentist at Fabulous Smiles Dental Care will thoroughly examine your teeth during a routine check and clean and be able to assess if there’s anything you should know about.
Whether you suspect you need a root canal, or just want peace of mind, contact Fabulous Smiles Dental Care today and schedule an appointment.