Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

A root canal is a treatment that should reduce or eliminate pain due to an infected tooth. Many of our perceptions of a root canal come from media images of people gripping dental chairs and the sound of loud drills. If you have never had a root canal, you may think that it is the most painful procedure you can undergo at the dentist. However, it is no more painful than many other dental procedures.

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Root Canal Process

While a drill is involved in the process, you shouldn’t feel any pain. In fact, your dentist will completely numb the area to ensure a comfortable experience. A root canal should get rid of pain, not create more. Before they begin, your dentist will inject a local anesthetic, removing any painful sensations. They will make sure that you are fully numb before starting your root canal. 

Then, your dentist will use a specialized tool (drill or laser) to drill into your tooth. During this step, your dentist will remove the infected pulp within your tooth. Also, it is vital for them to clean the tooth thoroughly to ensure there are no remaining bacteria. Next, to support your tooth, they will fill the hole with a dental polymer or filling. Finally, you will likely need a dental crown to restore your bite. At first, you will receive a temporary crown while your dentist or a lab creates your permanent crown. Then, a couple of weeks later, you will return to the dentist for your permanent crown. 

Reasons for a Root Canal

One of the main reasons you might need a root canal is if you have an infected or abscessed tooth. An infected tooth typically occurs when you have a cavity that goes without treatment. For example, a cavity begins as a small pit on the surface of your enamel. However, it will continue to grow if you do not seek treatment. The bacteria will continue to decay your tooth, creating a more severe infection. Eventually, it can create a pocket of pus or an abscess at the root of the tooth. To resolve this issue, your dentist must remove the infected pulp. This will relieve pain and halt decay. 

You also may need a root canal if you have issues with current dental appliances. For example, certain dental problems require multiple treatments on the same tooth. Over time, your tooth may become inflamed, needing a more intensive root canal therapy. Additionally, a faulty crown or an issue with a dental filling can cause problems. This means that your dentist will need to replace the filling by drilling into the tooth. 

Another example of a necessary root canal is due to dental trauma. For example, if you receive an injury to your tooth, you may not realize the damage done to the pulp. It is possible that the pulp can become damaged without any visible cracks or fractures in the tooth. Therefore, your dentist may need to perform a root canal.