Root canal therapy is a dental procedure used to fix teeth with damaged pulp tissues. The term pulp refers to the soft tissues that are contained in the pulp chamber, like nerves and connective tissues. This part of the tooth is sealed off from the rest of it, so bacteria, saliva, and acids in the mouth cannot get to these soft tissues.
Severe tooth decay and trauma to the face are common reasons a person might need a root canal. One of the most obvious signs a person needs a root canal is the excruciating toothaches caused by it. These are not everyday toothaches that you can power through. These toothaches will typically leave you unable to get any sleep at night.
Root canal pain is one of the things that often forces people with dental phobias to face their fears. That is how intense the pain can be; a trip to the dentist is nothing compared to it, even if you are afraid of dentists.
Some of the reasons why a person might develop root canal pain include:
Root canal therapy often starts with the dentist injecting the patient with an anesthetic. This numbs the tooth being treated, so the patient does not feel pain as the dentist cleans the tooth. This is done by drilling a hole into the tooth and using files to extract the soft tissues.
Once the tooth has been cleansed, medication is inserted into the pulp chamber before sealing the tooth up with gutta-percha. The tooth can then be reconstructed with composite resin or by placing a crown on it. Crowns are typically the preferred option since they offer more protection for the damaged tooth.
Root canal therapy often ends some of the worst toothaches a person can experience. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the procedure:
Root canal treatments are performed to save severely damaged or decayed teeth. Such teeth often have a compromised pulp chamber – the inner layer of a tooth's soft tissues like nerves – allowing bacteria to infect these tissues.
Some of the signs a person might need a root canal include:
There is no recovery period following root canal therapy. Patients are typically able to return to their regular routine right after. The treated tooth and the areas around it might be sore for a couple of days, but the discomfort is typically not enough to need pain medication. Any pain and discomfort caused by the tooth are typically gone right after the procedure.
Root canal therapy can often be used to save severely damaged or infected teeth, but it is not always an option. For example, if the infection in a tooth threatens to spread to other parts of the body like the jawbone or bloodstream, a dentist might recommend extracting the tooth instead of root canal therapy. Extractions are typically used as a last resort.
If you are experiencing root canal pain, give us a call or come by our Timonium clinic to set up an appointment.
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