When someone hears the words Root Canal, it usually causes some fear, but a root canal can actually be an almost painless procedure that usually feels similar to having a filling done. Although a Root Canal procedure can be a little longer then a filling, it can be somewhat simple. The dentist will access the center of the tooth by making a small hole through the top of the tooth. In the center of the tooth is the pulp or nerve of the tooth. During a root canal the dentist will remove the pulp of the tooth and clean out the canals of the tooth where the pulp is located along with any infection that might be located in the tooth. After the dentist cleans out the canals he/she will fill and seal the canals with a plastic filling material known as gutta purcha. The pulp is what supplies nutrition to the tooth so when the pulp is removed it can cause the tooth to become weak. Therefor after a root canal your dentist may recommend a post buildup and crown to help strengthen the tooth. There are many situations which might cause you to need a root canal:
- Decay goes down to the pulp of the tooth.
- Someone who severely clenches or grinds their teeth down to the pulp of the tooth.
- The nerve or pulp of the tooth can die after the tooth suffers a traumatic force.
- When there is infection in the tooth. This may cause severe pain in the tooth.
If a tooth that needs a root canal goes untreated, it can cause severe pain and even lead to death in extreme situations if the infection spreads to the brain or the blood stream. If you are not able to have a root canal done, then an extraction would be your other option to treat the tooth.
Sometimes years after having a root canal done a new infection can come back in the tooth that had the root canal. Most of the time, if this happens, your dentist might refer you to a specialist for root canals called an Endodontist. However if the infection is in a molar or in some cases a premolar tooth that has multiple roots, a Hemisection might be done. A Hemisection is done when only one of the roots of the molar or premolar tooth is infected. In a Hemisection the dentist will remove only the root that is infected. After the root is removed the doctor may put a crown on the treated tooth. This crown sometimes may connect to the tooth in front or behind the treated tooth to help support it. A Hemisection is a great option if you need treatment done to a tooth with a root canal but do not want to see an endodontist or have the whole tooth extracted.