What is a Root Canal?
When you look at your teeth in the mirror, all you see is the hard exterior or the enamel. This is only one layer of your teeth. The teeth are complex. Under the enamel, there is the dentin, which contains hollow canals that lead to the roots of the teeth. There is also the pulp chamber, which houses the pulp. The pulp is soft tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves.
The enamel protects the inner layers. When it becomes damaged, however, a direct passage can be opened to the interior of the affected tooth, allowing bacteria to enter. Once inside the tooth, the bacteria multiply and fill up the canals. They irritate the pulp, causing it to become inflamed. This can lead to severe pain.
An infection inside the tooth will not clear up on its own. It needs to be treated. Moreover, the only way to treat an infected tooth is with a root canal. This is a procedure that involves removing the infected pulp as well as cleaning and disinfecting the interior of the tooth before filling it and placing a dental crown over it. The crown is designed to restore strength to the treated tooth while also protecting it from future bacterial invasion and potential infections.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
A toothache is often one of the biggest indicators that something is wrong, and can usually point toward an infection inside the tooth. However, some people do not experience pain when there is an infection present. There are other symptoms that can point toward an infected tooth and the need for a root canal.
How is an Infection Diagnosed and Treated?
If you are experiencing symptoms of an infection, it is important to make an appointment right away. Before undergoing a root canal, we first thoroughly inspect your mouth. We check your teeth for signs of damage and inspect your gums for redness, swelling, and other signs of an infection. X-rays can be taken for a fee. X-rays enable us to see the condition of the teeth under the gum line as well as spot abscesses.
If an infection is found, you are then scheduled for a root canal. This procedure is done under a local anesthetic. Sedation can also be used if you are feeling anxious. A small access hole is drilled into the top of the affected tooth. Small tools are used to remove the pulp. The canals are then shaped, which make them easier to clean. The interior of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. It is then filled with a dental material known as gutta-percha, which aids in sealing the canals. Finally, the tooth is prepared for a dental crown, which is cemented over the top of your treated tooth, providing it with the protection and strength it needs
A root canal is an effective treatment for removing an infection, effectively restoring the health of the affected tooth and preventing the need for an extraction. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call El Paso Modern Dentistry today at (915) 444-2660.