When you read the words “root canal” you may have had an uneasy feeling. Root canal therapy (or more properly ‘Endodontic Therapy’) has been viewed as something to be frightened of for hundreds of years. It’s first known implementation was in 1756. But, in the centuries since, this treatment has made remarkable advancements and even more so in recent decades. Root canal therapy is more often than not, more comfortable and much faster than expected. So, what is a root canal treatment and do I need such a treatment?
Simply, a root canal treatment is the removal of an infection. Unlike, most other treatments, such as fillings which focus on the tooth’s surface, endodontic therapy focuses on infections that have formed in your tooth’s root canal. This canal is a hollow space inside your teeth filled with nerves, blood vessels and other cellular structures that, together, constitute your tooth “pulp.” Should this pulp become irreversibly infected, it must be removed. After properly diagnosing the issue, Your endodontist will first make an opening through the enamel and dentin of your tooth. Next, they will remove the pulp, clean the canal and then apply a filling to the canal. The last stage is to protect the tooth with a crown.
As mentioned above, a root canal treatment is done to remove infected pulp from your tooth’s root canal. This infection is called pulpitis. This can be caused by cavities or physical trama that reach the pulp. Bacteria can now infect the pulp, causing inflammation and decay. Your first symptom of pulpitis will likely be a toothache caused by the inflammation. This will cause quite a bit of pain and it will be clear that something is wrong. If this infection is left untreated, the bacteria may be able to spread through your body, causing even more illness. If possible, the endodontist will reverse the infection with medication. However, if the infection is severe or irreversible, a root canal therapy treatment will most likely be required. Should the infection not be treated quickly, tooth extraction may be the only way to prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of your body.
If you think that you may have an infection, please schedule an appointment at our Glendale, AZ office through our website, or call us at 602-786-5753.