What is a root canal?
Root canal treatment is one of the most common dental procedures to protect a tooth when its pulp tissues are infected. However, to understand root canal treatments and their necessity, it’s important to understand the root canal anatomy. The root canal is the innermost part of the tooth, i.e., the tooth lying underneath the enamel and dentin layers. The root canal houses the pulp tissues, nerves, and blood vessels, making it the most important part of the tooth. As such, root canal treatments are necessary when the innermost chamber of the tooth is infected, inflamed, or otherwise damaged.
When do I need a root canal?
Root canals can usually be avoided if the patient maintains perfect oral health and goes for regular dental checkups. That’s because root canals are only necessary when cavities and dental problems are allowed to proceed unchecked. In most cases, root canal treatments are necessary when a dental infection or cavity spreads into the pulp chamber. However, all cavities start at the enamel, i.e., the outermost part of the tooth. Since the enamel doesn’t have nerves, cavities on the enamel don’t produce any pain or discomfort.
If you don’t go for regular dental cleanings and dental checkups, the cavities continue spreading into the pulp chamber, eventually necessitating a root canal treatment. As such, you need a root canal if you haven’t filled your cavities for a long time, allowing the infection to reach your root canal. In some cases, root canals may also be necessary if you’ve sustained a dental injury or trauma that’s cracked the uppermost surfaces of your teeth. In that case, a root canal may be necessary to protect the tooth from further damage.
What are the signs I need root canal treatment?
- You experience severe pain while chewing or biting, indicating that the nerves are inflamed, infected, or otherwise exposed.
- You notice cyst-like formation on your gums or around your teeth, indicating severe dental infections or dental abscesses.
- Your tooth is visibly chipped or cracked.
- Your teeth are extremely sensitive to hot and cold temperatures even after the stimulus has been removed.
- Your gums appear swollen or tender.
- Your gums are extremely dark and discolored.
- Your teeth appear darker and discolored.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
Your root canal procedure starts with a thorough evaluation and x-rays. Your dentist will take x-rays of your teeth to determine the exact extent of the dental decay or cavity. This allows them to plan the ideal root canal treatment process. Once your treatment starts, the dentist injects local anesthesia around the affected tooth to ensure a comfortable process. If the nerves within the tooth are dead, anesthesia won’t be necessary since you won’t feel anything anyway. However, local anesthesia is always offered to minimize the risk of discomfort and pain.
Once the anesthesia kicks in, the dentist applies sheets around the affected tooth to isolate it from other teeth and places a dental dam to prevent saliva from interfering. The dentist drills an access hole into the affected tooth to access the root canal, and they hollow out the insides by removing all the infected pulp tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. The hollow root canal is then cleaned with a liquid solution and dental files. Next, the dentist applies a disinfectant medication and seals the root canal. The dentist also takes impressions of your teeth to prepare the crown.
It takes a few days to prepare the dental crown according to your specific needs. However, some dental clinics also use in-office printers to produce the dental crown in a few hours. In the meantime, the dentist will provide a temporary crown to protect your affected tooth, and you can go back home. Once the dental crown is prepared, you’ll have to return for your final session. The dentist will use dental cement to attach the crown over your affected tooth. They’ll also make final adjustments to ensure it blends with your surrounding teeth.
How safe is the root canal?
A root canal is a completely safe and effective procedure. In the past, root canals had a high risk of failure because of the lack of modern technologies. However, root canals now have nearly perfect success rates with no complications or major side effects. You can resume all your daily activities immediately after the root canal.
Why is a tooth extracted after a root canal?
In some cases, root canal treatments aren’t enough to stop the infection from spreading. If the dentist notices that your infection persists after the root canal, they may have to perform a tooth extraction to remove your infected tooth completely. This is done to prevent the infection from spreading further.
What are the benefits of a root canal?
- Prevent bacterial infections from spreading to other teeth.
- Prevent severe toothaches and decay.
- Provide aesthetically attractive results.
- Save your tooth from complete decay.
- Prevent jawbone degeneration, which may happen without a tooth.
- Improve overall oral health.
Where can I have a root canal treatment? Where can I find the nearest dentist’s office for a root canal?
URBN Dental is one of the most reliable dental clinics for root canal treatments in Houston, TX. We have offices in Midtown and Uptown Houston, making our dental treatments accessible to most people in and around Houston. Furthermore, our dentists carefully assess your teeth and only provide root canals if all other treatment options are unavailable. For more information, please schedule an appointment at our dentist’s office today.