Root canal therapy is necessary when the soft tissue inside your root canal (the pulp) is inflamed or infected. Deep tooth decay, faulty crowns, repeated dental procedures and cracked or chipped teeth are just a few examples of dental issues that could call for a root canal. In addition, an injury to your tooth may damage the pulp even if the rest of the tooth doesn’t show visible cracks or chips.
If pulp inflammation or infection is left unaddressed, it can trigger pain or lead to an abscess. Besides addressing the pain and infection, endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, limit the need for ongoing treatment, and continue eating the foods you love. Below are more detailed descriptions of the reasons for root canal therapy.
When your tooth’s pulp or nerve tissue is damaged, it breaks down and allows bacteria to multiply within the pulp chamber. Typically, bacteria and other decayed debris can trigger an infection or abscessed tooth. Often associated with pulsating pain, an abscess is a pocket that forms around the roots of the affected tooth. This can happen when the infection is allowed to spread beyond the ends of the tooth’s roots.
An infection in the root canal can also cause:
Pulp infection is a sign that the tooth is dying, and it’s not going to go away on its own. When left untreated, the pain can worsen, and the infection can spread to other parts of the body. A root canal is an effective way to address nerve tissue infections and save your natural tooth.
Losing a permanent tooth is a significant dental problem. It affects more than just your smile. Losing even a single tooth can have far-reaching effects, such as:
In some cases, root canal therapy is not a cut-and-dry procedure. For example, retreatment deals with the entire length of the root canal, while apicoectomy treats only the area around the final 6mm of the canal. In addition, endodontic surgery can find hidden canals, remove calcium deposits, repair root surfaces and the surrounding bone.
Many people seem to cringe whenever they hear the terms root canal therapy. Here are some common myths about root canal treatment to give you a better sense of what it is and what isn’t true.
You can benefit from root canal therapy if your tooth becomes inflamed and damaged. When your tooth’s dental pulp becomes exposed to bacteria, it needs to be removed to stop further pain and infection. Common signs that you need root canal treatment include pain and sensitivity to hot or cold foods that linger after the stimuli have been removed. You may also notice a tiny, pimple-like bump on your gums near the point of pain. However, the only sure way to know if you need a root canal is to see your dentist for a professional consultation and a complete exam.
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