Root canal therapy is necessary when a patient’s root canal becomes infected. Treatment removes the infected pulp from the root canal and then seals it to prevent re-infection. But how does a root canal become infected in the first place? There are a number of potential causes of this problem.
When a tooth is cracked or broken due to facial trauma, the pulp is exposed to the oral cavity and the bacteria found within it. Those bacteria can infiltrate the pulp and cause infection.
Advanced tooth decay is another potential cause of root canal infection. If the cavity is so large that it reaches the tooth’s innermost core, the bacteria will spread to the pulp tissue. This is why it’s so important to see your dentist every six months. When you get regular exams, your chances of developing such a large cavity are much, much lower.
Not only is an infection in the pulp tissue quite painful, but it can also threaten the health of the tooth. Therefore, root canal therapy can help patients save biological teeth, which is always preferable to extraction and replacement.
Patients may be anxious about the prospect of root canal therapy, but this is usually due to misinformation about the discomfort that ensues from the treatment. In reality, many patients report that root canal therapy is no more uncomfortable than when the dentist fills a cavity.
In performing the procedure, the dentist will first anesthetize the treatment site to minimize discomfort during the appointment. Then, a small hole is created in the tooth to access the inner core. The infected pulp tissue is removed and the empty root canal chamber is sanitized to eliminate any lingering bacteria. The empty chamber is then filled with a rubber-like substance. After root canal therapy, a dental crown is usually placed on the treated tooth, which may be more likely to break as a result.
Infected root canals can be very painful, so if you are experiencing severe pain in your tooth, schedule an evaluation at our office to learn whether root canal therapy might benefit you.