A root canal is a treatment to save a dead tooth. It involves removal of the pulp and nerves in the internal canals of your tooth and is considered a permanent solution to serious tooth decay and the pain that comes with it.
Signs that you need a root canal
You could be a candidate for the procedure if you’re experiencing lasting pain in one of your teeth. Your dentist will help establish the cause of your pain and determine whether a root canal is necessary. Other signs that you need the procedure include tooth discoloration, swelling of gums and sensitivity to heat or cold.
Why you need a root canal
Dentists don’t have many ways of preventing an infected tooth from getting worse or the problem from spreading to other teeth. Tooth removal and replacement is the other sure alternative, but this is relatively costly, longer and more complicated.
What to expect during root canal
The first step during the procedure will be numbing the tooth and the surrounding area using a local anesthesia. Your dentist will then use a rubber dam to isolate the tooth being repaired from the rest of the mouth, to keep it free from saliva and to prevent chips from reaching your throat.
Next, they will use a dental drill to create an opening on the upper part of your tooth whence they will access and scoop the pulp and nerves from the canals. You will then be rinsed clean using sodium hypochlorite and water before the tooth is filled and sealed using a substance called gutta percha.
Your dentist will inform you if there is a need for extra appointments and dental work. You may have to come back to have a crown placed on the repaired tooth.