A root canal is a dental procedure that is performed to treat a damaged or infected tooth pulp, which is the innermost part of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels. A tooth might require a root canal for several reasons:
Decay: If tooth decay progresses deep into the tooth and reaches the pulp, it can lead to infection and inflammation. A root canal may be necessary to remove the infected pulp and save the tooth.
Trauma: Physical trauma to a tooth, such as a severe blow to the face, can damage the pulp even if there is no visible external damage to the tooth. A root canal may be needed to address the internal damage and prevent infection.
Repeated Dental Procedures: Teeth that have undergone multiple dental procedures, such as fillings or crowns, may eventually develop issues with the pulp. If the pulp becomes damaged or infected, a root canal may be recommended.
Cracked or Fractured Tooth: A crack or fracture in the tooth can expose the pulp to bacteria, leading to infection. In such cases, a root canal can be performed to remove the damaged pulp and seal the tooth.
Abscess Formation: If a dental infection is left untreated, it can lead to the formation of an abscess, a pocket of pus that can develop at the root of the tooth. A root canal is often necessary to address the infection and prevent it from spreading.
Signs that may indicate the need for a root canal include severe toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, swelling of the gums, or a pimple on the gums (dental abscess). It's essential to consult with a dentist if you experience persistent dental pain or other concerning symptoms.
The root canal procedure involves removing the infected or damaged pulp, cleaning and shaping the root canals, and then sealing the space to prevent further infection. In some cases, a dental crown may be placed on the treated tooth to provide additional strength and protection.