What is a root canal?

A root canal is a complicated dental procedure that deals with the soft inner tissue of the teeth. This tissue can become infected, inflamed, or decayed, which can cause serious pain and sensitivity. During a root canal, your dentist will gently remove the infected tissue, clean out the tooth, and seal it shut. With proper care, your tooth will be restored back to full function and appearance.

Root canal procedure

A root canal is a dental procedure in which a diseased or injured nerve is removed from the pulp. The tooth is then cleaned and filled. Root canals are used to treat infections of the pulp, or blood vessels and/or nerves that extend into the tooth.

A root canal is performed under local anesthesia. Most patients report the procedure being no more painful than receiving a filling.

Why is a root canal performed?

A root canal is performed when decay has reached the tooth’s nerve. This decay can be removed and the damaged nerve can be replaced with a “filling” material.

This treatment is usually performed if the decay is not too severe and a filling could be enough to save the tooth. However, if the decay is too severe, it must be removed and the nerve will have to be repaired with a crown.

Is a root canal painful?

You may have heard horror stories about root canals and be concerned about the extent of pain they cause. But a root canal is performed under local anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain. In fact, a root canal typically relieves pain caused by an infected tooth.

A root canal is often recommended when the soft tissue of the tooth or the nerves inside of it become infected. A root canal will clean out the infection and the tooth will be filled and sealed. Many patients report that a root canal is less painful than an extraction.

How much does a root canal cost?

Root canals can be rather expensive, especially when multiple appointments are needed to complete the procedure. You shouldn’t let this discourage you from getting the procedure, however, as it is an effective means of saving your natural tooth and preventing further dental issues.

Alternatives to root canal treatment

While your dentist may recommend a root canal, this does not mean it is the only option for fixing your tooth. In fact, there are several alternatives for fixing a diseased or infected tooth. A dental extraction, for example, may be recommended. Or, a crown may effectively restore a tooth. Your dentist will discuss your options with you and determine which option is best for your needs.

Root canal aftercare

After your root canal, you’ll probably experience some sensitivity in the treated area. Since the nerve and blood supply have been removed from the tooth, the tissue surrounding the tooth may become inflamed. This inflammation can cause pain, but it should go away within a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be recommended.

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