Questions And Answers About Root Canals

Posted on: 29 February 2016

If your dentist has recommended a root canal, you may be concerned about the procedure. Here are a few questions and answers about root canals to help you better understand the procedure and what to expect:

Why is a root canal performed?

A root canal is performed to alleviate discomfort that is associated with an inflamed or infected tooth. In addition, the procedure eliminates the infection that may be growing in the tooth. This is important because a dental infection can actually spread to the jawbone. If this occurs, other teeth can be affected.

What happens during a root canal?

During a root canal, the dentist drills a hole into the tooth and removes the soft living material from its interior chambers. This material, which is called the dental pulp, includes the blood vessels and dental nerves of the tooth. Once the dental pulp is removed, the dentist cleans the interior of the tooth and fills it.

A mold or impression of the patient's mouth is made so that a permanent crown can be created. A temporary crown is applied until the lab fabrication of the permanent crown is complete. Once the permanent crown is received from the laboratory, it is affixed to the repaired tooth during a second dental appointment.

How does the dentist know that a root canal is needed?

The dentist will review the symptoms that you communicate. Some of the indications that a root canal is needed include the following:

  • Consistent tooth pain
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums
  • Dental sensitivity to cold and heat
  • Foul-smelling liquid leaking from the gums
  • A tooth that has become darkened

In addition to the symptoms that you are experiencing, your dentist will use dental x-rays to confirm that a dental nerve is inflamed or a dental infection is present.

Are there other options to eliminate the discomfort?

A root canal is not the only option to eliminate the discomfort associated with an infected or inflamed tooth. Your dentist may also give you the choice of having an extraction. However, the extraction has a negative impact on the appearance of your teeth. In addition, the gap left by an extracted tooth can promote the misalignment of the remaining teeth through dental migration.

If your dentist is prescribing a root canal and you have further questions, schedule a consultation with someone like Rick Chavez DDS. He or she will be able to answer your concerns, and if you suffer from dental anxiety concerning the procedure, sedation options may be available during your treatment.