A root canal is a dental procedure that eliminates bacteria and decayed matter from an infected tooth. This procedure is used to save the natural tooth and prevent future infections. While this may have been a somewhat uncomfortable process to go through in the past, modern dentistry has made it as easy and pain-free as installing a routine filling. The answer to the question “What is a root canal?” would be much different today than it was 30 or 40 years ago, primarily due to the fact that improvements in dentistry have made it much more comfortable for the patient.
Do I need a root canal?
You may need a root canal procedure performed if you have a cracked tooth, if you have issues with previous fillings, or if you have a serious dental cavity that requires attention. If you notice your teeth are extremely sensitive in certain parts of your mouth to hot or cold sensations, that may be an indicator a root canal could be needed. Some other signs to look for include swollen or tender gums, deep decay or darkening of the gums, pimples on the gums, and severe pain while chewing or biting.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
When the inner portion of your tooth, known as the pulp, becomes infected or inflamed, it is necessary to remove the infected material. If it goes untreated, it could lead to an abscess and it will almost certainly cause a great deal of pain for the patient. When your Colorado Springs dentist operates on your infected tooth, they will first remove all bacteria and infected material, then scour the entire region around the tooth. After cleansing and disinfecting, the area will be filled and sealed with a material very much like rubber, which is commonly referred to as gutta-percha.
Then the tooth will be restored artificially, with a crown or filling that will protect the area against future infection, and allow the tooth to perform just like any other normal tooth in your mouth. When you have a root canal performed on an ailing tooth, it will help restore your normal lifestyle, eating all the foods you like, and smiling naturally without pain. Assuming you take good care of all your teeth with good dental hygiene, your root canal tooth should last the rest of your lifetime.