A root canal is an endodontic procedure used to treat tooth decay. When a cavity extends beyond the enamel and dentin, it reaches the inner-most layer of your tooth, known as the pulp. This is the nerve center, which is necessary for nourishing your tooth while it is still developing. If it becomes infected, it will cause significant pain and discomfort.
A root canal is needed to stop the infection. It involves removing the areas of decay and extracting the pulp through the crown. Your tooth is sterilized before being sealed with a special material called gutta-percha. A dental crown is placed over the tooth to protect it from future complications while restoring its function and appearance.
If your tooth is left untreated, it will eventually die. The infection will spread to adjacent teeth and into your supporting structures, leading to additional complications. To prevent further issues, a root canal is recommended when there are no other viable treatments to save it from an extraction.
Tooth decay does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process. Every day, your teeth are exposed to harmful bacteria that eat away at your enamel. If it is not removed with proper brushing and flossing habits, a small hole will eventually form. At this point, the cavity can be treated with a filling, but if it goes undetected, it will progress in severity until it reaches the dentin and the pulp.
You can help to prevent cavities by brushing twice a day, flossing every night, and limiting your exposure to sugars. In addition, visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. We can detect tooth decay in the earliest of stages to provide the appropriate intervention before it worsens.
Root canals are common, but we only recommended them as a last resort to save your tooth. Signs you may need a root canal can include:
If you have a damaged tooth, do not have it extracted. We can save it with a root canal. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.