A root canal is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. To save te tooth, the pulp, decay, and nerves are removed and the empy space is filled with dental material which restore the tooth to normal function
The only alternative to a root canal is to have the tooth removed entirely. Most teeth treated with a root canal will last a lifetime - but occasionally a tooth may need retreated if it becomes reinfected.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
Ultimately, only an exam and x-rays can determine if you really need a root canal. However, if you have any of the following symptoms you should schedule an appointent as soon as possible.
- An abscess (painful bump) on the gums
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache or pain
- Swelling and/or tenderness
Is having a root canal painful?
Normally the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling done. We use a local anesthetic so that you will be comfortable throughout the procedure. After the anesthesia wears off, you may have some discomfort in the affected tooth or surrounding area - usually an over the counter pain reliever is sufficient for dealing with any discomfort.