Root canals save teeth by removing damaged or infected tissue. Teeth risk decay from the inside. Beneath their hard surface, teeth contain a cavernous network of tunnels. These tunnels are filled with blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue known as the tooth pulp.
The tooth pulp runs from the gums up through the tooth roots into a concentrated mass in the center. Tooth pulp keeps teeth healthy but can work against your smile if damaged or infected. Root canals remove injured dental pulp tissues, saving teeth from extraction and stopping trouble from spreading.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is essentially dental care for the inside of your teeth. Dental pulp produces dentin — a living tissue forming the majority of a tooth’s body. When the dental pulp becomes damaged, the dentin cells break down, causing tooth decay.
Root canal therapy may be necessary due to trauma or an infection spread over time. Common causes of damaged tooth pulp include:
- Dental trauma: Injury to the dental structure can crack, chip or break teeth, exposing the tooth pulp. Exposed tooth pulp is susceptible to bacterial infection and is incredibly sensitive to hot and cold.
- Tooth decay: Caries and cavities destroy dentin and pulp tissue, spreading through healthy tissue until stopped by a dentist. Eventually, decay will spread to the tooth pulp chamber, requiring tooth removal.
- Previous dental work: Older dental work can show signs of age, creating hot spots for bacteria to develop. Fillings, crowns and other procedures can become loose or dislodge completely, requiring treatment to fix.
- Periodontal disease: The tooth pulp runs from tooth roots into the gumline. Gum disease, an infection commonly caused by plaque buildup, can spread up into the tooth pulp, continuing to the pulp chamber and placing the entire tooth at risk.
When Might You Need a Root Canal?
The signs and symptoms of damaged tooth pulp can vary. Depending on the cause, signs you might need a root canal can range from mild to severe. Symptoms may be steady or intermittent, visible or invisible to the naked eye. Signs that you should consult a dentist include:
- Increased sensitivity: Tooth damage and decay can expose sensitive nerves in the tooth pulp tissue, causing increased sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Tooth pain: Infected or traumatized tooth pulp is often painful, with symptoms felt in teeth, the gums and around the tooth site.
- Visible signs: Redness or inflammation of the gums is a sign of infection, along with small pimples on the surface of the gums.
- Tooth Discolouration: Teeth affected by dead or infected pulp tissue can lose their brilliance, changing from white to grey, brown or black.
Treating tooth pulp at the first sign of trouble will help save as much tooth body as possible. Regular dental exams can spot signs of pulp damage before it’s too late. Call your dentist if you experience any of the signs and symptoms above to see if you might need a root canal.
Root Canal Procedure
Regular brushing and flossing are unable to stop pulp damage and restore teeth. In root canal treatment, a dentist treats the inside of the teeth, clearing the site of unhealthy tissues and disease.
Root canal therapies are straightforward — typically completed in just one or two visits. Advancements in patient sedation, dental technology and, most importantly, experience have made root canal treatments less painful, as well. You can expect the root canal procedure to involve the following four steps.
1. Schedule an Appointment
If you’re experiencing any worrying signs or symptoms and think you might need a root canal, schedule an appointment. Delay can lead to spreading damage and increased symptom severity.
2. Preparation for Root Canal Treatment
At Alpen Dental, we strive to make patient care our top priority. Root canal therapies include optional oral or IV sedation to help with anxiety and manage discomfort during the procedure.
3. Root Canal Therapy
Any damaged or infected tooth pulp is removed from the tooth canals. The entire area is sterilized, treating any bacterial infections, and sealed to prevent new buildup of bacteria.
4. Tooth Restoration
After removing tooth damage, tooth restoration procedures work to rebuild the smile. Restorative dental procedures can include dental crowns, fillings, inlays and more.
Root canal treatment removes the cause of discomfort for relief from symptoms. Restorative dental procedures are primarily dependent on the extent of the damage. In most instances, root canal treatments are completed within two weeks.
It’s safe to resume your regular brushing and flossing routine after your appointment. Patients may experience mild soreness or discomfort for several days following treatment. If pain persists, give us a call.
Schedule an Appointment
Pulp tissue forms a connected web, allowing infections and cell damage to spread to surrounding teeth and gum tissue until treated by a dentist. Root canal treatment stops infections and damage from spreading, saving teeth from extraction.
An annual exam is your first line of defence against threats to your smile, but it’s not your only one. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with tooth pulp damage, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Send us a message online today for root canal treatment near Blackfalds or Rimbey.