No matter how well you care for your teeth, they can weaken from trauma, infection, and gum disease. While they are designed to withstand a lifetime of wear and tear, your teeth aren’t indestructible.
An infected or damaged tooth can cause discoloration, gum swelling, and intense pain when applying pressure by biting or chewing. It can also result in persistent sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.
Often, a root canal can relieve your discomfort and preserve the affected tooth. Annually, more than 15 million people have a root canal to save their natural teeth and prevent extraction.
The primary goal of dental care is always focused on protecting and preserving your natural teeth. That’s because a tooth and its root are essential to your oral health. A damaged tooth that can’t be saved must be repaired, or it will worsen and require extraction.
When tooth damage is identified and treated early, a root canal is often recommended to preserve the affected tooth. Root canal specialists George Kontoveros, DMD, and Anthony Klobas, DMD, of 2K Dental, specialize in using this procedure to help patients preserve their damaged teeth. The staff at 2K Dental provides caring, professional treatment to ensure you remain comfortable and achieve the best possible outcome of a root canal treatment.
Find out why a root canal may be recommended and how it can make a difference in your oral health.
Why having a root canal matters
A root canal is the hollow section of your tooth that leads from the top of your tooth crown to the end of the root. This canal is filled with blood vessels, pulp, connective tissue, and soft tissue that contains nerves.
The term “root canal” is also commonly used to describe the dental procedure that treats damage and infections in the root canal of an affected tooth.
When damage or decay causes a deep hole or cavity in your tooth, harmful bacteria can enter the root canal area and attack the tissue. A destructive and painful infection can result. Without treatment, the infection can slowly destroy the tooth’s internal structures, down to its roots.
When an infection spreads to the tooth roots, it can result in pulp death, bone deterioration, and the need for extraction. The problem with losing a tooth and its roots can affect the health of your gums and mouth.
Your jawbone is constantly regenerated by nutrients released when you use your teeth to chew. When a tooth is extracted, it leaves a hole in your gumline that doesn’t receive enough stimulation to renew the bone under the gap. Without enough gum stimulation, deterioration and shifting of neighboring teeth can occur.
A missing tooth can affect the bone where the missing tooth existed, leading to changes in your factual structure and overall appearance.
Reasons for a root canal
A root canal is often the best way to save a damaged tooth. The procedure can provide a solution to some of the following symptoms of a decaying or infected tooth:
- Tooth abscess (pocket of infected material caused by bacteria)
- Gum pain
- Deep decay or darkening of the gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Facial, gum, or neck swelling
- Tooth discoloration
- Weakening from repeated dental procedures
- Crack or chip on a tooth
- Faulty crown
What a root canal involves
A root canal relieves your symptoms by removing the infection and allowing your natural tooth to remain in its original position. This maintains the natural line of your teeth and facial structure. By avoiding the need for a tooth replacement, you also protect the health of your adjacent teeth and prevent them from shifting out of place.
While it’s called a “root canal,” the procedure used to remove the infected tissue from your tooth is technically endodontic therapy. During a root canal, your dentist drills a hole into the canal and uses small files to remove the diseased pulp. The debris is flushed from the pulp chamber and root canal with water.
The cleaned root canal is sealed with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material that prevents bacteria from entering the tooth again. Since your tooth is typically weakened after this procedure, it’s usually fitted with a crown or filling to protect it and restore normal function.
Find out more about the reasons a root canal may be the proper treatment for your damaged or infected tooth. Call our office in Parma, Akron, or Cleveland, Ohio, today to arrange a consultation.