Blog

Dentist and her assistant working on young female patient in medical clinic with protective equipment,

What is a Root Canal?

Visiting the dentist for a regular visit can be stressful for some patients. This may especially be true if the visit is due to tooth pain. For your dental team, diagnosing what is causing the pain and determining the treatment plan is essential to relieving patient stress and discomfort. Have you had a dentist tell you that your treatment plan includes a root canal? Are you wondering what this procedure entails? In this blog post, we will take a deeper look at some of the symptoms that are typical of needing a root canal, the procedure itself, as well as the ways you can possibly prevent needing a root canal in the future.

Symptoms of needing a root canal

According to the American Association of Endodontists there are warning symptoms that might indicate a root canal is needed. 

  • A cracked or chipped tooth
  • Tender and swollen gums
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot
  • Continuous pain
  • Pain when touching the tooth and/or eating

It is essential to make an appointment right away if you are experiencing any one of the above symptoms. If a tooth is left untreated there is the risk that an infection associated with a tooth can spread.

What is a root canal?

Every tooth has a soft core that is called the dental pulp and it extends from the visible part of your tooth all the way down to the roots in the jawbone. Inside this pulp there are blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves. When you crack a tooth, bacteria can get into the exposed pulp, 

thus creating an infection. The main goal of a root canal is to clear the infection and save the tooth in order to prevent having it extracted.   Sometimes an antibiotic will be necessary to help with the infection as well.

The procedure itself is very straightforward and will alleviate the tooth pain and save your tooth. According to Mouth Healthy, brought to you by the American Dental Association, during the treatment, the dentist will numb the tooth so you do not feel the tooth during the procedure.. The dentist will remove the pulp that is inside the tooth, clean, and disinfect the pulp chamber and roots. A root canal fill material is then placed in the area where the pulp tissue was located.  The entire procedure is usually finished in one appointment.  It is sometimes recommended that a crown is placed to protect the tooth after the pulp tissue is removed.

Preventing a root canal

There are many ways to prevent the need for a root canal and it begins with proper dental hygiene habits. Incorporating these into your daily routine can also help prevent other tooth issues and cavities. 

Here are some of the essential habits that you will want to include everyday:

  • At least twice a day, brush your teeth.
  • Make sure to floss at least once a day.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and cleaning.
  • Reduce the amount of foods high in sugar.

Early prevention is essential if you are experiencing  any of the symptoms listed. Contacting Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry and Dr. Abrams immediately will help alleviate the discomfort and get you on the road to recovery. Give us a call at 615-595-6111 or visit our website to schedule an appointment today to start your dental care.