Root Canals in Burbank
What comes into your mind when you hear the term “Root Canal” or “Root Canal Treatment?” When we hear these terms, many of us associate them with pain and suffering- and in some ways, this association has some merit, but not because of the treatment itself! Root Canal Treatment is actually offered as a means of stopping the pain, swelling and associated suffering that comes with certain types of toothache.
Let’s take a look at what a dentist means when they use the terms ‘Root Canal’ and ‘Root Canal Treatment’. We’ll explore the reasons why this treatment might be offered to a person, and provide a brief explanation of what happens during the treatment.
What is a Root Canal?
The term ‘Root Canal’ is an anatomical one, used to describe the tiny hollow within the tooth that extends from the tip of the root of the tooth to the center of the crown (the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum). This natural space inside the tooth is filled with the tooth’s nerve network, soft connective tissue and the blood vessels that keep the tooth nourished and healthy.
Some people will use the term “Root Canal” instead of the term “Root Canal Treatment”- for example, they might say ‘My dentist says I may need a root canal’ when in fact the dentist has been talking about providing root canal treatment.
Why Do Some Teeth Need Root Canal Treatment?
Sometimes a tooth’s internal soft tissue will become inflamed or infected. Since this tissue has many nerves in it, this inflammation or infection will cause pain, which can sometimes be very severe, especially if the infection becomes a full-blown abscess. The main things that will cause inflammation or infection inside a tooth’s root canal are:
- Trauma to the tooth- this can be in the form of an impact from an accident or sporting injury, or even as a result of repeated cavities and fillings over the years.
- A fracture or crack in the tooth
- A lost filling
If the inside of a tooth becomes inflamed or infected, a dentist will need to diagnose the cause of the problem and determine the extent to which it has affected the tooth. In many cases, treatments such as fillings, sedative dressings or even a crown will allow the inflammation or infection to heal.
Sometimes, however, the inflammation or infection is too severe or widespread within the root canal for such treatments to be successful. In such a case, the tooth is diagnosed as being irreversibly inflamed or infected, and there are only two treatment options available to remove the source of the pain that the patient is experiencing:
- The entire tooth must be removed: this procedure is called an extraction.
- The entire contents of the tooth’s root canal system must be removed, which is of course “Root Canal Treatment”.
The risks and benefits of each treatment should be discussed with the dentist in order to determine the best treatment option, as this will be different for each individual.
The Treatment in a Nutshell…
“Root Canal Treatment” is the process of removing the affected tissue from within the tooth’s root canal as well as the subsequent processes of cleaning and disinfecting the root canal, and ultimately filling the void left behind inside the crown and root. The tooth will need additional appointments for the placement of a final filling or crown.
Always Ask Your Dentist…
If ever you are unsure of why your dentist is suggesting treatment of any kind, you should ask them questions. You will find your dentist will be very keen to explain their recommendations to you- many will also provide pamphlets, drawings or website resources for additional information.
Root Canal Treatment is an invasive procedure, and there are risks involved that your dentist will explain to you in detail. However, in most cases, the benefits of proceeding with treatment outweigh the risks.