A root canal is, in essence, a last-chance procedure to save a severely decayed or infected tooth. Why is it called a “root canal?” This refers to the area within the teeth where the nerve and pulp are located—and which often the source of growing decay and pain. The nerve and pulp must be removed if the rest of the tooth is to be saved. The nerve is not essential to ongoing tooth function, serving mostly to detect temperature differences and changes in pressure. However, if it has become infected, it is a liability that could result in swelling, drainage, and bone loss if not addressed as soon as possible. In a root canal treatment (also known as an endodontic treatment), our dentist in Mt Airy NC L Dean Simmons DDS creates a small opening in the tooth’s crown and cleans out the pulp and nerve. The empty space is then filled in and sealed, preventing further decay to take place. How can you tell if you might need a root canal? Here are a handful of symptoms to watch for:
- Extreme pain and sensitivity while chewing or putting pressure on the tooth.
- Internal discoloration of the tooth.
- A recurring pimple on the gums, which may indicate an abscess.
- Heightened sensitivity to temperatures (both hot and cold).
- Increased gum sensitivity and swelling.