While we realize that most people don’t find a root canal to be very exciting, we’d like folks to know exactly how beneficial they can be. If your tooth has a severe infection in the pulp or roots, there is always the possibility of losing that tooth. But when a root canal is performed, it significantly lowers the chances of needing an extraction. Who doesn’t want to keep his or her own teeth – especially when the option is a bridge or an implant?
Some people worry that a root canal kills their tooth, leaving it vulnerable to decay or further infection. This is really not the case. What is removed during a root canal is the tooth’s nerve. This nerve is not at all vital to a tooth’s function. In fact the only real function of the nerves in your teeth is to protect itself by sensing pain.
Why Would I Need a Root Canal?
When the nerves in your tooth become diseased or damaged, they start to break down and the bacteria that form can wreak havoc inside your tooth. Lots of factors can contribute to nerve damage including accidents or trauma to the tooth itself, untreated decay, chips that allow unwanted material and bacteria to enter the tooth, and old or damaged fillings. Once the infection in the tooth takes hold it can cause excruciating pain and inflammation, though occasionally, there are no symptoms at all. If left untreated, an abscess may form. Swelling from this abscess can spread to your face, neck or jaw, and can even cause drainage into the gums and cheeks. Bone loss around the roots of the tooth is often also experienced.
The sooner a root canal is performed, the better. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please call us right away:
- Darkening or discoloration of the tooth or gum
- Sharp and persistent toothache or pain when chewing
- A pimple, swelling or tenderness of the gums
- Ongoing sensitivity to temperature changes