What is a root canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure involving the removal of the soft center of the tooth, the pulp. The pulp is made up of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels that help the tooth grow.
In the majority of cases, a general dentist or endodontist will perform a root canal while you’re under local anesthesia.
Learn more about this common procedure, as well as the potential risks involved.
When is a root canal needed?
A root canal is performed when the soft inner part of a tooth, known as the pulp, is injured or becomes inflamed or infected.
The crown of the tooth — the part you can see above your gums — can remain intact even if the pulp is dead. Removing injured or infected pulp is the best way to preserve the structure of the tooth.
Common causes of damage to the pulp include:
- deep decay due to an untreated cavity
- multiple dental procedures on the same tooth
- a chip or crack in the tooth
- an injury to the tooth (you might injure a tooth if you get hit in the mouth; the pulp can still be damaged even if the injury doesn’t crack the tooth)
The most common symptoms of damaged pulp include pain in your tooth, and swelling and a sensation of heat in your gums. Your dentist will examine the painful tooth and take X-rays to confirm the diagnosis. Your dentist may refer you to an endodontist if they think you need a root canal.
Does a Root Canal hurt?
Since patients are given anesthesia, a root canal isn’t more painful than a regular dental procedure, such as a filling or getting a wisdom tooth removed. However, a root canal is generally a bit sore or numb after the procedure, and can even cause mild discomfort for a few days.
How do you know if you need a root canal?
Root canals are needed for a cracked tooth from injury or genetics, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous filling. Patients generally need a root canal when they notice their teeth are sensitive, particularly to hot and cold sensations.
There are a few symptoms that mean you might need a root canal—
- Severe pain while chewing or biting
- Pimples on the gums
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the sensation has been removed
- Swollen or tender gums
- Deep decay or darkening of the gums
At Amrita Medical Center, our staff is happy to answer any of your questions and help you decide if are the right for you. We even offer same day appointments for your convenience. Contact us here!