A root canal is performed only when a tooth has decayed significantly, or when it has become infected. The root canal procedure involves the complete removal of the nerve and pulp of the tooth; the inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed. A root canal is performed in order to prevent the further infection of the tooth, and also to minimize the risk of abscesses forming.
How do I know whether or not I need a root canal?
There are many factors that can cause the nerve and pulp of a tooth to become damaged, but it is often the result of repeated dental procedures being performed on the same tooth; of facial trauma; or cracks and chips to the tooth; or of simply decay.
There are not always clearly-evident symptoms, but sometimes such signs do appear. One is severe toothache, particularly upon chewing. Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures might also indicate the need for a root canal, as can the darkening of the tooth, the swelling of nearby gums, and the presence of pimples on the gums.
How do I know whether I need a single-visit or a multiple-visit root canal?
A single-visit root canal is obviously the quicker of the two options, but it is not always viable. Depending on the severity of the problem, the process may entail multiple visits. The only way to know for sure is to have X-rays done, and once this initial assessment is made, Dr. Dube will determine whether a single-visit root canal will work for you.
If so, the process will entail the application of an anesthetic and the drilling of a small access hole into the tooth. The nerve and pulp, along with any bacteria that are present, are flushed out through this whole, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned out with a root canal file.
From there, the tooth is sealed—unless Dr. Dube believes there to be a significant chance of infection, in which case you may need to wear a temporary filling or cap for a week or so.
Is the root canal process painful?
Root canals are notorious for being exceedingly painful, but this is something or an urban legend. In truth, most patients report that the process is no more painful than having a cavity filled. Because the nerve of the tooth is usually dead when you have the root canal performed, you do not feel much of what Dr. Dube is doing to you!
Is a root canal usually successful?
The success rate of root canals is extremely high—more than 95 percent, in fact. What’s more, most root canals ensure that the tooth lasts a lifetime. Complications might include undetected cracks in the tooth or the need for a follow-up cleaning to be performed, but these are uncommon.
For more information about root canals, or to schedule an evaluation, contact us today at (910) 791-0986.