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A root canal treatment (sometimes called endodontic therapy) becomes necessary when a cavity has gone undetected until it reaches the pulp of the tooth. In worst case scenarios, the decay can even extend through the root and into the surrounding bone. Untreated, this situation can have implications for the health of your whole body. Once the pulp is infected, it will not heal on its own. A root canal must then be performed which will clean out the infected pulp, the root, and the tooth canal. This treatment is a final step to avoid extraction of the tooth. Once the issue of infection has been resolved, the canal of the tooth is filled in in order to prevent any further infection. In most cases, it is necessary to follow up a root canal with a core build up and a crown.

The symptoms that may indicate an infected pulp include extra sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, extra sensitivity to sweet foods, pain, swelling, pain when biting, or a bad taste in your mouth. Sometimes, there will be no obvious symptoms of an infected pulp area until the dentist discovers it in a checkup.

While many will understandably shrink away from the idea of a root canal, it is important to view it as a helpful tool for your dentist. With a root canal, the dentist can resolve issues of pain and infection while preserving your natural teeth. A properly trained dentist with reasonable experience can make the root canal experience virtually painless.

What To Expect

A root canal treatment will follow the following procedure:

  • The dentist will take X-rays in order to determine the extent of the decay.
  • Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the infected area.
  • A rubber dam may be secured around the infected tooth in order to provide a dry work area.
  • The dentist will clear all pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria from the infected tooth.
  • The dentist will seal the tooth to prevent future infection.
  • The dentist will fill the tooth with a special compound.
  • In some cases, the dentist may perform some restorative work to the tooth for possible aesthetic or functionality issues.
  • And then you’re done!