Root Canal Treatment: When and Why You Should Get It

person getting a root canal

Even though more than half of U.S. adults visit the dentist at least once a year, oral health is still a problem in the country. Over one in four adults live with untreated tooth decay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost half of those over 30 have symptoms of gum disease.

One of the effective ways to deal with an infection brought on by tooth decay is root canal treatment. However, it’s a procedure that should only be done in specific situations. Here’s when and why a root canal is necessary.

Why You Should Get a Root Canal

To understand this procedure, you should first know what it treats. Your tooth may look solid, but inside, it has soft and sensitive components. One of them is a soft tissue called the “pulp.” This contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue responsible for providing nutrients to your teeth.

Cavities, in their early stages, may only affect the surface of the tooth. In this case, dental fillings can still save the tooth and prevent the decay from spreading. When left untreated, the decay can dig further down and infect the pulp. Since the pulp contains nerves and blood vessels, its infection may cause excruciating pain.

Complications from an Infected Pulp

If the bacteria make their way into the bloodstream, it can cause problems in other organs as well, leading to infections in your neck and jaw.

Another complication stemming from this could be sepsis, a life-threatening condition that causes one’s immune system to develop inflammations throughout the body. This can lead to organ damage and death. To avoid any complications and further pain, a root canal procedure is in order.

When to Get Root Canal

An infected tooth pulp has a lot of apparent symptoms. These include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck or jaw
  • Constant toothache that extends to the ear, jaw, or neck
  • The abscess may break, causing a foul-smelling liquid to gush in your mouth

If you’re experiencing a few of these symptoms, visit your dentist in Taylorsville, Utah as soon as possible. He/she will determine if the procedure is necessary for your tooth infection.

How Root Canal Works

Woman at the dentist's chair during a dental procedure

Dentists perform root canal treatment within one or two sessions. First, your dentist takes an x-ray of your tooth to determine if you need the procedure. If it is necessary, your dentist may take these next steps.

  1. Administer anesthetic to numb the affected area.
  2. Create a small hole in your tooth towards the pulp chamber.
  3. Clean out the infected pulp using specialized equipment.
  4. Clean the space and fill it with a rubber-like material to prevent further infection.

If you want to protect your tooth further, you need to have a crown attached, which requires another session. A tooth without pulp is sensitive. Restoring a crown will restore the tooth’s full function.

A root canal procedure sounds scary, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Dentists do multiple successful root canals a year. It’s a necessary procedure to maintain your oral health, and ultimately your overall health.

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