A root canal is a treatment in endodontics that is needed when the nerve of a tooth is harmed. This can be the result of an infection or progressed decay. The goal of a root canal is to save the natural tooth. To do this, the living tissue inside the tooth (pulp), nerves, bacteria and decay are removed. In place, the tooth is filled with medicated dental materials so that function can be restored. The alternative is pulling the tooth completely, which ultimately proves to be more expensive and more problematic for the surrounding teeth. Root canals are rarely unsuccessful and last a lifetime, barring brand new infection. Typically, several signs point toward the need of a root canal.
- An abscess (pimple) on the gums
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe tooth pain
- Swelling and/or tenderness
The symptoms normally present themselves in response to a certain cause.
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp
- Infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
- Injury or trauma to the tooth
Many patients may find the area sensitive at first, but become more comfortable as the inflammation subsides. Make sure to adhere to the care instructions provided by the professional. The office of Dr. Steve Walton will refer patients to a specialist called an endodontist when root canal therapy is needed.