A root canal is a procedure to save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. Bacteria can enter the tooth and start an infection that damages the pulp, the center of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. When this occurs, the only way to preserve the tooth is to perform a root canal procedure to remove the damaged parts of the tooth. After the process, the dentist at Ivan K. Salmons DDS, will place a crown over the remaining portion of the tooth to restore its shape and function. After the procedure, the gums may have some soreness, but this discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medications. And within a few days, the patient can resume normal activities like eating and talking.
Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection
- A severe and persistent toothache is the most common symptom of a root canal problem. The pain may be throbbing, sharp, or constant and may worsen with pressure or biting.
- The affected tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages. Even room-temperature liquids may cause discomfort or pain.
- In some cases, the gums around the affected tooth may become swollen, tender or develop a small pimple-like bump called a gum abscess.
- A foul odor or taste in the mouth that persists despite regular oral hygiene practices may indicate a root canal infection.
The Root Canal Procedure
Before your procedure, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding area so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort during the treatment. After you are prepped for the procedure, your dentist will remove the inflamed or infected pulp from your tooth and clean the area thoroughly to ensure no bacteria is left behind after the tooth has been treated. Once the dentist has removed the damaged tissue and cleaned the inside of the tooth, they will place a rubbery substance called gutta percha in the tooth’s canal to seal it and prevent future infection. Finally, a temporary filling will be placed in your tooth to protect it until your follow-up visit. During this visit, your dentist will check on the recovery of the treated tooth and ensure that it has healed properly before placing a permanent restoration over the tooth.
The Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
One of the primary benefits of root canal treatment is the relief of toothache and associated pain. Root canals are typically performed to address severe tooth decay, infection, or trauma, which can cause significant discomfort. By removing the infected pulp and eliminating the source of pain, root canal treatment provides relief and allows the tooth to function without discomfort.
Saves Natural Tooth
Preserving the natural tooth is another crucial advantage of root canal treatment. The infected or damaged pulp is removed during the procedure, but the tooth's outer structure remains intact. By saving the natural tooth, root canal treatment avoids the need for extraction and the potential complications that can arise from missing teeth, such as shifting adjacent teeth or problems with chewing and speaking.
By saving the natural tooth and preventing the need for extraction, root canal treatment contributes to better long-term oral health. For the best dental care, visit Ivan K. Salmons DDS at 1855 Indian Hills Drive, Sioux City, IA 51104, or call (712) 239-5900.