Root Canal

West LA » Root Canal

root canal Root CanalUnfortunately, root canals are fairly common among even those with the best dental hygiene. When a cavity is left to foster, it can spread to the root and pulp of a tooth, which can cause the tooth to die if not treated properly with a root canal. Pulp is the bundle of nerves and blood vessels that surround a tooth to provide it with extra nourishment while it is growing. Once adult teeth are fully formed, however, the pulp is no longer necessary. However, if this pulp becomes infected from bacteria or the decay from a cavity, it can spread to the tooth or the root if not removed. A root canal is essentially the process of removing the pulp from the tooth and the root in order to save the tooth and the root as well.

The problem with infected pulp is that when swelling occurs due to the infection, blood supply to the pulp is cut off. This means antibiotics cannot reach the tooth, so the infection can only be treated with removal, making a root canal the only option for treating infected pulp.

The most common symptoms of infected pulp include pain which increases if you bite or push down on the tooth. Other symptoms include increased sensitivity to heat and/or cold, a discolored tooth, a cracked or broken tooth, or swelling around the tooth.

To determine whether or not you need a root canal, the dentist will first take x-rays to be evaluated, to see how deep the infection has spread. He or she will also feel the tooth manually to check for cracks or sensitivities to pressure or temperature. In some cases where a diagnosis is not obvious, an electric pulp tester may be used to see if the pulp is alive. This will not hurt but will rather cause a tingling sensation. Make sure to tell your dentist if you use a pacemaker or other electric life-support device, as the electric pulp tester may interfere with these devices, and should not be used.

Some root canals take only one visit to clear out infected pulp, though others may require several visits if the infection has spread or if the tooth is at an awkward angle. After the infected pulp is removed, you will be fitted with a crown in order to protect your tooth and correct its aesthetic appearance. Local or general anesthesia, depending on the severity of your infection, will keep you relaxed and comfortable during the process.

Though the procedure is painless, you can expect some soreness for several days around your tooth. Over-the-counter pain medication should help the pain to subside. If it does not, or the pain lasts longer than a few days, call the CCIND offices immediately.

If you think you may need a root canal, or have a cavity that has not yet been treated, please call for a consultation today. The CCIND staff will be happy to discuss fillings and root canals with you.

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