What is a Root Canal?

What is a Root Canal?

Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures. With this simple treatment, you can avoid tooth loss and the need for bridges or dental implants.

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a badly decayed or infected tooth. In a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp of a tooth are removed, then the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. If left untreated, the tissues surrounding the tooth may become infected, and abscesses may result.

The most common reasons for root canal treatment include:

  • Deep decay
  • Repeated dental procedures on the tooth
  • Facial trauma
  • A crack or chip in a tooth
  • Advanced gum disease

While modern root canals have greatly improved over time, many people still fear them due to past painful experiences. However, with proper anesthesia and care by your dentist, today’s root canals are very similar to having a filling placed.

What are the signs I may need a root canal?

The most common symptom of a tooth that may need a root canal is a persistent, throbbing toothache. Your tooth (or teeth) may also be sensitive to pressure, hot, or cold temperatures. If your tooth hurts when you bite down on it, this could mean you have an infection in the pulp of your tooth.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may need a root canal:

  • Throbbing pain in a tooth
  • Sharp, radiating pain when chewing or applying pressure to a tooth
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures that lingers even after the hot or cold food/drink is gone
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the gums near the affected tooth

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your dentist immediately. If left untreated, pulp damage can lead to other complications, such as gum disease or even tooth loss. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, don’t wait until it worsens. The longer you wait for treatment, the more likely the problem will worsen and require more extensive treatments.

Why might I need a crown after getting a root canal?

If your tooth has been weakened by decay or removing a large part of it during a root canal procedure, it won’t hold up to the stresses of regular use without the extra support of a crown.

And because it no longer receives nourishment from its nerves, a tooth that has had root canal treatment can become brittle, making it essential to protect the remaining portion of your tooth with a crown following a root canal procedure. A filling generally isn’t enough.

What can I expect from a root canal procedure?

When you visit the dentist, you can expect a comfortable experience. Before your treatment, we’ll discuss any questions or concerns you have about the procedure. 

Root canal treatment is typically performed under a local anesthetic. The dentist begins by making an opening through the top of the tooth to reach the pulp inside. The pulp is then removed, and any infection or decay is cleaned out. Finally, the pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed. 

Learn More About Root Canals

Root canals are a way to save a tooth that may otherwise need to be extracted. If you are currently suffering from tooth pain, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.Our team is ready to help you maintain a healthy smile. Contact us today at 212-888-4140 to schedule an appointment.