Root canal treatment (also known as “root canal therapy” or “endodontic therapy”) is necessary when tooth decay reaches all the way into the pulp. The pulp is the soft inside of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. This kind of damage usually only happens when cavities or chips are neglected for too long.
Once decay reaches the pulp, the pulp becomes infected. The infection can extend through the root tip and can even begin to eat away at the surrounding bone. Eventually, your entire immune system can become weak due to this dental infection.
This type of problem requires immediate attention from experienced professionals. Root canal therapy is the only alternative to extracting and replacing the tooth.
What are the Symptoms of Needing a Root Canal?
Tooth infections are very painful. You will likely notice intense tooth pain or severe sensitivity, though some patients do not notice any symptoms at all. Some of the other signs that you might need root canal therapy include:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods, or sweets
- Swelling around the affected area
- Pain when biting down or chewing
- Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
Even if you are not experiencing any of these symptoms, it is critical to keep up with your regular dental visits. Your dentist can detect the signs of a deep cavity even before you can. The earlier you receive proper care, the more comfortable you will be!
What Does Root Canal Therapy Involve?
During a root canal, your dentist will remove the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the root canals inside your tooth. Once the infection is resolved, your dentist will fill in the root canals to prevent further infection. Dr. Erickson will likely recommend a dental crown to fortify the tooth and restore its strength and aesthetic.
Our patients are often pleasantly surprised by how comfortable root canal therapy can be. We use advanced techniques and a gentle approach. Of course, we also provide patients with a local anesthetic to thoroughly numb the area.
If you have questions about root canal therapy, or would like to schedule your exam, please contact our office today.