What is root canal therapy?
Endodontics involves the treatment of the tooth pulp containing the nerve of the tooth and the tissues surrounding the root of the tooth. If the pulp becomes diseased or injured, it may be unable to repair itself. If untreated, this can become extremely painful and lead to the loss of the tooth.
You may have root canal disease if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Lingering sensitivity to either hot or cold liquids
- Sensitivity to sweets
- Pain from bite pressure
- Pain that is referred from a tooth to another area, such as the neck, temple, or the ear
- Spontaneous toothache
- Constant or intermittent pain
- Throbbing pain
- Pain that may occur in response to atmospheric pressure changes, such as when flying or scuba diving
- Pain that may occur in response to postural changes, such as moving from standing to a reclining position
Root canal therapy removes the diseased pulp tissue, which is composed of a nerve and blood supply within the tooth. After all the material has been removed from within the root, the tooth’s canal – or canals if it is a multi-rooted tooth – are sterilized and sealed with a material that prevents bacteria from re-entering.
Because a root canal removes everything that feeds the tooth and keeps it alive, the tooth will become brittle after a period of time. This time period varies from person to person which is why the tooth should be restored as quickly as possible.
Your dentist might recommend that a post and a crown be placed as a final restoration. Back teeth are usually crowned shortly after a root canal has been performed to prevent the tooth from shattering due to the pressure put on it by chewing.
Root canal work is not uncomfortable, and in some instances can be performed in one visit. The discomfort associated with root canal therapy is normally due to the infection and should subside once treatment commences.