Information About Root Canal Therapy

If you have a dental infection, your dentist may recommend a root canal. A root canal is performed to clear the infected material from the center of a tooth and restore the tooth's functionality. Here is a bit of information about the procedure:

Why is a root canal called a root canal?

The living, soft substance that makes up the inner layer of a tooth is called the pulp. It contains the nerves of the tooth, along with the tooth's blood supply. The interior chambers of a tooth, which house the pulp, extend into the dental roots. Unlike certain procedures, such as a pulpectomy, which remove the pulp only from the crown of a tooth, a root canal also eliminates the pulp from the roots.

Does a root canal require general anesthesia?

A root canal does not usually require general anesthesia. In most cases, your dentist can numb the area around the tooth by injecting a localized anesthetic. Before injecting the medicine, the dentist may apply a bit of numbing medication to a cotton ball and place it over the injection site. This can help minimize any discomfort that you may experience from the injection.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, the dentist may also offer you an oral sedative such as Valium before the procedure. An inhaled sedative, such as laughing gas, is also a popular option to calm feelings of stress related to your procedure. The sedatives do not render you unconscious, but you may remember little about your root canal procedure if one is administered.

Will your tooth be painful after a root canal?

The discomfort associated with your tooth and the dental infection should be alleviated by the root canal. As the pulp is removed, the dental nerves that may have been inflamed by the infection are also removed, so the source of your pain should be eliminated.

What are some signs that you have a dental infection that may require a root canal?

If you have a dental infection that requires a root canal, you may experience the following:

  • continuous tooth pain
  • discoloration of the infected tooth
  • extreme tooth sensitivity to heat and cold
  • an abscess or pimple-like bump on the gums surrounding the infected tooth
  • bad breath

To learn more about root canal therapy and to determine if it is suitable for you, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.