A root canal involves the removal of the pulp of a tooth. The pulp, which is the portion of tooth material that lies at the center of the tooth, includes the blood vessels and nerves of the tooth. Since the nerves transmit the sensation of pain, once the pulp becomes inflamed, a terrible toothache may ensue.
During a root canal, the dentist drills a hole in the tooth and extracts the pulp. They subsequently disinfect and fill the hollow tooth interior. After the tooth is filled, the dentist adds a crown for protection and fortification.
There are multiple signs that root canal therapy should be performed. They include chronic tooth pain, an abscess near a tooth, discoloration or darkening of a tooth, swollen or tender gums near a tooth, and increased dental sensitivity to heat and cold. The procedure alleviates the symptoms by ridding the tooth of the infected or inflamed pulp and the nerves that it contains.
Here are a couple of conditions that could necessitate a root canal procedure.
Sensitivity From Abuse of Teeth-whitening Products
Teeth-whitening products are readily available over the counter. The products, which are designed for at-home use, are applied by the consumer. Even though these items often include detailed instructions, a person may leave the product on the teeth longer than instructed or make other errors during the application. As a result, the product may enter the canals of the dentin, eventually reaching the dental nerves.
Upon overexposure to the chemicals in the whitening products, the nerves of the teeth may become increasingly sensitive. In some instances, the nerves are irreparably damaged, and the sensitivity becomes chronic. The only ways to alleviate the discomfort are the removal of the tooth or its treatment with a root canal procedure.
Chronic Pain From a Tooth Infection
When bacteria invade a tooth through a breach in the enamel, an infection may result. Even though a dentist may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infected tooth, the damage to the dental nerves or overall pulp may be permanent.
The damaged nerves and inflamed pulp can cause chronic tooth pain. In some cases, the pulp may even die from the trauma of a severe infection. To salvage the tooth and prevent its reinfection, a root canal procedure is needed.
To learn more about root canal therapy and the conditions that it can treat, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.