What is a Root Canal and Why Would I Need One?

Root CanalIf you think you may need a root canal, you should visit our San Jose dental office immediately for treatment. Root canal treatment is essential to your oral health and can save your tooth. Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is nothing to fear, but rather a simple, discomfort-free treatment that can save the life of your natural tooth.

The pulp of your tooth is the heart of your tooth. It is the soft tissue that holds blood vessels and connective tissue that helps your tooth grow and then continues to support it and provide feeling for your tooth for the rest of your life. If the pulp and the roots of your tooth become compromised by infection, you will risk losing your tooth permanently.

A variety of causes can lead to an infected pulp. Sometimes it happens due to built up tartar and bacteria in your teeth and gums, other times it can be caused by a crack in your tooth that left the tooth vulnerable to an infection. In most cases, when the pulp of your tooth is infected or inflamed it can cause significant discomfort. If left untreated, it can abscess. An abscess happens when your tissue is so inflamed and infected that it begins to fill up with puss. Abscesses are very painful and are a definite sign you need a root canal treatment immediately.

Although root canal treatment gets a bad rap, it is actually less uncomfortable and more necessary than you may realize. During a root canal, we will use specialized tools to remove the infected pulp and the pus that may have developed. This will rid the tooth of any harmful bacteria. Following the removal of the infection, your tooth will be filled with an inert, rubber-like substance called gutta-percha that will retain its solid structure. Your tooth will then be restored with a crown or with a filling to protect it from further damage or infection. After your root canal, you will be able to use your tooth as you normally would once again.

During your root canal procedure, we will first x-ray the area to determine the extent of the damage. We will then provide you with a local anesthetic so your treatment will be comfortable and pain-free. We will make sure you feel completely relaxed during the treatment. After removal of the infection, we will medicate the area and fill it with the gutta-percha mentioned above. The entire process is very similar to receiving a simple filling; only it takes longer.

If you are experiencing tooth discomfort, discoloration or swelling in gums surrounding a tooth, you may have a major infection. Do not wait to see a dentist and risk the life of your natural teeth. Retaining your natural dental structure is critical to your oral health as a whole and can prevent further damage to surrounding teeth. Visit our San Jose dental office as soon as you can so we can evaluate the damage and determine whether or not your tooth might be infected and if you may need a root canal.

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