A root canal is performed in order to save a tooth that has been infected by bacteria, which gets in through a crack or deep cavity. The nerve and pulp are removed from the inside of the toot and replaced it with an inert filling to prevent future infections. The loss of the nerve will not affect the tooth’s ability to function. Once the root canal is completed, an impression will be taken of the tooth, and temporary crown will be placed. In the following visits, a permanent crown will be cemented to cover up the root canal and strengthen the tooth.
If untreated, a painful abscess (a collection of pus) may form and even damage your jaw.
The alternative to a root canal is an extraction, followed by a bridge, implant, or dentures. However, these treatments are often more expensive and take longer; on top of that, it is much better to retain your natural teeth.
If you have a severe, persistent toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold, swelling or tenderness in the gums, you may need a root canal. Ask your dentist today. Root canals have a bad reputation for being very painful, but in reality they are no more painful than regular fillings.