What is a Root Canal?
Root canal therapy or endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth, called the pulp. The pulp consists of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and is essential during a tooth’s growth and development. However, as soon as the tooth fully matures, it can survive without the pulp as it receives nourishment from the tissues that surround it.
How to Know if You Need a Root Canal
When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, root canal therapy is necessary. The inflammation or infection may be a result of:
- Deep decay
- A crack or chip in the tooth
- Repeated dental procedures
When an inflamed or infected pulp is left untreated, it can cause pain and may develop into an abscess.
What are the Signs of Needing a Root Canal?
You may require root canal therapy if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain when chewing or biting
- Pimples on the gums
- A chip or crack in the tooth
- Long-lasting sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Swollen or tender gums
- Darkening of the gums
- Deep decay
How Does Endodontic Treatment Save the Tooth?
During root canal therapy, your dentist will first remove the infected or inflamed pulp. Next, they will clean, shape and fill the space. When you return for your second appointment, you will receive a crown or other restoration to protect the tooth and restore its full function.
Can All Teeth Be Treated Endodontically?
In most cases, all teeth can be treated endodontically. However, exceptions can apply when:
- The root canals cannot be accessed
- The root is severely fractured
- The tooth is missing adequate bone support
- The tooth cannot be restored
Advances in endodontics have made it possible to save teeth that would have otherwise required extraction in the past.
What Can I Eat After a Root Canal?
After receiving a root canal, it is best to avoid eating hot or hard foods as doing so can be painful. Soft foods such as eggs, yogurt, fish and applesauce are some good options as they do not require much chewing.