Getting to the Bottom of Root Canals

Getting to the Bottom of Root Canals

So your dentist has recommended a root canal for dental treatment. You probably have a lot of questions about the procedure, like what it is, why it is necessary and what exactly your dentist will be doing to your mouth. Luckily for you, Hanley Family Dentistry is here to get to the bottom of root canals and provide you with the necessary patient education.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal, also known as an endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure used to save a badly damaged tooth. However, to understand endodontic treatment better, it would probably help to understand the anatomy of a tooth. Underneath the white enamel and hard layer called dentin is the pulp of your tooth. The pulp is a soft tissue and contains connective tissues, nerves, and blood vessels.

During the root canal procedure, your Chester, VA endodontist will remove the inflamed, damaged or infected pulp. Once it has been removed, they will carefully clean and shape the inside of the “root canal.” Last, the area will be filled and sealed. Afterwards, we recommend a dental crown placement or other restoration that can help protect your tooth and restore its function.

Who Needs a Root Canal?

A root canal becomes necessary when the soft tissue inside the root canal called the pulp becomes infected or inflamed. Severe decay, repeated dental treatments and cracks or chips can all lead to infection and inflammation of the pulp. Certain dental injuries can also damage the pulp without causing any visible damage on the outer portion. Neglecting to treat an inflamed or infected pulp can result in extreme pain, infection and even an abscess. Some signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • Heat/Cold Sensitivity
  • Tender Tooth
  • Tooth Discoloration
  • Swelling/Inflammation
  • Tender Lymph Nodes
  • Signs of Infection

Certain patients, however, never experience any symptoms and are made aware of their situation during a routine dental examination. To make sure your dental health is still at its best, we always recommend that patients visit our office every 6 months for routine cleanings and exams.