Your Root Canal Treatment Questions Answered

Many people have had cavities and fillings in their life. However, if you've been told you need root canal therapy, you may have a lot of questions. Root canal treatment often gets a bad rap, but it is a common procedure that is designed to prevent tooth loss. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is designed to fix infected teeth, so your dentist will only recommend it if they find signs of infection or an abscess. In many cases, you can tell you have a tooth infection because you'll have symptoms like severe pain, swelling, bad breath from the infection, and a metallic taste in your mouth (especially if the abscess bursts). Even if you don't have symptoms, however, your dentist can usually spot the infection on X-rays.

You'll also need enough money to pay for the root canal procedure and a dental crown. A dental crown is recommended after root canal therapy to strengthen the tooth and reduce the risk of the tooth breaking. Most dental insurance covers some cost of the root canal and medically necessary dental crown, but they don't cover the whole cost.  

What Happens During Treatment?

During treatment, the entire living portion of the tooth (the pulp) is removed. The pulp sits in the middle of the tooth's crown and extends down each root. Therefore, the dentist must use small files to clean out the thin root canals. This tissue is dead or dying because of the infection, so it's safe to remove.

After the infected tissue is removed, it is replaced with a special material and the tooth is closed. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to kill any remaining infection.

What Are the Benefits of Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is beneficial for many reasons. First, it relieves symptoms. In many cases, an infected tooth can create severe, persistent pain that doesn't respond to pain medications because the inflammation puts direct pressure on tooth nerves.

Second, treating the tooth stops the decay process. If left untreated, a tooth can deteriorate from an infection and severe decay. It may decay so much that it breaks at the gumline and needs to be pulled. In extreme cases, if left untreated, a tooth infection can spread to other parts of the body.

Finally, root canal treatment is the only alternative to extraction when it comes to treating infected teeth. Therefore, the treatment can prevent tooth loss in more than one way.

Root canal treatment is often associated with pain, but just like many treatments, you are numb during root canal treatment, and the treatment is designed to relieve your painful symptoms. Besides extraction, it is the only way to treat an infected tooth, and it can save you money in the long run by saving the tooth. If you would like to know more, contact a dentist in your area today.