Root Canal Therapy: A Necessary Evil
What is root canal therapy, and why is it needed? This treatment is a dental procedure that removes the root from the canal of your tooth, and it is done so that the tooth can be retained without any future pain or discomfort. Normally tooth nerves do not cause pain, but when the tooth is damaged, severely decayed, or other problems exist then the root of your tooth may become irritated and sensitive, causing pain and possibly other complications as well. The therapy will save the tooth while eliminating the nerve, so there is no pain. All teeth have at least one root canal, and some may have three or four, depending on the tooth type, size, and other factors. The nerve and other tissue are removed from the root during this treatment, and this will prevent any future problems or tooth loss.
Root canal therapy is also called endodontic treatment, and this therapy is performed when contamination or damage has caused problems inside the tooth. The nerve tissue inside your teeth also contains blood vessels and other structures which help your teeth stay strong and healthy. When damage or infection causes contamination in the interior of your tooth, the nerve tissue is affected, and this can cause many symptoms including pain, fever, and severe infection. The contamination and nerve tissue must be removed from the tooth canals with this therapy, and then the tooth must be sealed to prevent future contamination, pain, infection, or other problems.
Without root canal therapy the affected tooth must be pulled, but with this treatment, you can avoid any missing teeth or gaps in your smile. Many dentists will not pull a tooth if this treatment is an option, while others will leave the final decision up to the patient. When the treatment is performed the cost will vary, depending on the specific number of canals the root has. If your tooth has more than one canal, then you will pay more. Cleaning and sealing the tooth interior offers many benefits over simply pulling the tooth, and many dental insurance plans will cover at least part of the cost of the therapy. This can help make the cost more affordable if you have this type of insurance coverage.
Root canal therapy will usually require more than a single visit, and may require some appointments before the entire process is complete. The dentist will have to clean out each root canal that your tooth has, and this can be time-consuming. Once the tooth interior chamber and all of the canals present have been completely cleaned, then your tooth will be sealed. Before the cleaning can begin your dentist will take x-rays, so the number and the exact length of the root can be determined. The dentist will also usually numb you up and then drill a hole in the tooth, so a sample of the tissue inside can be taken. This will help your dentist determine if root canal therapy is the best option or not.