The Root Canal Procedure: Why And How It Helps

Posted on: 28 January 2015

Root canals have become a common treatment in dental care, but despite their standardization, many patients still don't understand their function. If your dentist has recommended that you get a root canal, it can help you to understand exactly what the procedure will do for you and why you need it. Here's a look at the basics of root canal treatments and why you might need one.

When Do You Need a Root Canal?

Most dentists will only recommend a root canal if there's significant pain and discomfort in a tooth due to infection of the endodontic system. If you're unfamiliar with the sections of your tooth, the endodontic system is the pulp of your tooth and the hollow area that it fills in the center of the tooth structure. Some of the key indications of infection in the endodontic system include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to temperature – if your morning coffee and that cold bottle of water both cause you significant pain, that's a key indicator.
  • Tooth Pain that Spreads to Your Face – when the pulp of the tooth is infected, it can cause pain and pressure to radiate through your face.
  • Swelling in Your Gums – when the tooth becomes infected, the gums around it will swell in response to the infection.

Why Do You Need a Root Canal?

If you have the symptoms of endodontic disease, you need to have your tooth treated right away. The pulp in your teeth is designed to keep the tooth healthy and preserve its life. If there's an infection in that pulp, that infection can spread into your jaw bone and the tissue around your face if you don't treat it right away. The root canal procedure removes the infected material, which prevents it from spreading and causing serious health complications.

How Does the Root Canal Help?

Left untreated, an infected tooth like this will ultimately be lost. You'll have to have it pulled and then treat the radiating infection afterward. If you see your dentist when the symptoms start, a root canal procedure can actually preserve the tooth shell.  After the infected material is removed, your dentist will seal the tooth and then cap it with a crown to protect it.

Although root canals are a common dental treatment, patients who have never had any dental care complications may be unfamiliar with their function and benefits. With the information presented here, you'll know why you might need one and you'll be able to identify the warning signs early. This can help you increase the chances of success for the treatment, which will improve the chances that you can preserve your natural tooth instead of having it extracted. Talk to your dentist or people like Rick Chavez DDS right away if you're concerned about pain or discomfort in a tooth.