What Is A Root Canal?

The term “root canal” can mean two things — the innermost part of the tooth or the dental procedure that targets the root canal of the tooth. To understand root canal therapy, you need to first understand the structure of the tooth.

The human tooth consists of numerous layers. The outermost layer is the enamel — it doesn’t contain any nerve endings and can’t transmit sensations. The next layer after the enamel is the dentin, which also lacks nerve endings. And after the dentin layer comes the pulp chamber, which contains the pulp tissues, blood vessels, and nerve endings, making it the sensory center of the tooth. The pulp chamber nourishes the roots of your teeth, allowing them to develop properly. A fully developed tooth can also survive without the pulp tissues because it can be supported by the surrounding tissues.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is a common restorative procedure wherein the contents of the root canal/ pulp chamber are emptied and cleansed. The dentist drills an access hole into the pulp chamber, removes all the infected pulp tissues and blood vessels, and seals the hollow chamber. Root canal therapy is a last resort solution to a severely infected or decayed tooth. If you have severe dental decay or cavities, you may need a root canal to prevent the bacterial infection from spreading further, which would necessitate tooth extraction. You can avoid needing root canals with proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings.

When Do I Need A Root Canal?

You need a root canal when your tooth is severely decayed or infected. The accumulation of plaque and tartar can lead to cavities on the outermost layers of your teeth, i.e., the enamel. In the initial stages, cavities can be treated with simple dental fillings. But if you don’t notice cavities or avoid taking action, the cavity will burrow deeper into your teeth, eventually reaching the pulp chamber. Once the bacterial infection reaches the pulp chamber, you will experience severe toothaches because the root canal contains nerve endings. At this stage, a root canal becomes necessary.

Signs Indicating You May Need A Root Canal:

  • Severe toothaches from biting or chewing
  • Formation of pimples or abscesses on the gums
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Increasing sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Sudden cessation of toothaches (indicating that the nerves are completely dead)
  • Tenderness and swelling in your gums
  • Darkening of the gums
  • Deep dental decay and cavities

Advantages Of Saving A Tooth With A Root Canal:

  • The ability to chew food properly
  • Maintaining optimal bite force
  • Maintaining proper sensation in your teeth
  • Maintaining healthy teeth
  • Ensuring your smile looks even and perfect
  • Prevent excessive strain on other teeth
  • Avoid needing complex dental implant surgeries
  • Minimize the risk of decay in other teeth

What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is a fairly simple restorative dentistry procedure. The endodontist or dentist administers local anesthesia around the affected tooth to numb the gum tissues. After administering anesthesia, the dentist drills an access hole into the tooth, following which the contents of the root canal are emptied. The dentist removes all the infected pulp tissues, blood vessels, and nerve endings. The root canal is cleaned with a special solution, following which an antibiotic is applied. The dentist seals the root canal with gutta-percha, following which they take impressions of your teeth. In the next session, the dentist places a dental crown on the weakened tooth to protect it from damage.

Does A Root Canal Hurt?

A root canal isn’t any more painful or uncomfortable than a simple dental filling. Since most of the nerve endings in your root canal will be dead, you won’t feel any pain. And the dentist will also administer local anesthesia to ensure further comfort and emotional peace of mind. Your tooth might be a little sore after the procedure, but there’s no pain or discomfort.

Is There Any Downtime After A Root Canal?

You can resume most of your daily activities 2 to 4 hours after a root canal. You will have to avoid eating hard, hot, or crunchy foods for a day, but you can resume work, school, and daily activities immediately. There’s no downtime after a root canal.

Who Is One Of The Best Dentists In Houston?

Dr. Justin Lai is one of the best dentists in Houston. He’s a highly-skilled, top-rated dentist specializing in cutting-edge restorative dentistry techniques, such as root canals and dental crowns. He always listens to his patient’s unique goals and concerns and curates personalized treatment plans to ensure safe and consistent results. Furthermore, he stays abreast of the latest developments in dentistry and equips his dental clinic with cutting-edge technologies, ensuring his patients always have access to the latest dental techniques. If you’re looking for one of the best dentists in Houston, please contact Dr. Justin Lai in Memorial City.

Schedule An Appointment For Restorative Dentistry In Houston

Edge Dental is a state-of-the-art dental clinic specializing in cutting-edge restorative dentistry in Houston. We have unanimous 5-star ratings and reviews from all patients on Google, which indicates we maintain exceptional standards of patient care. If you have the signs and symptoms of dental decay and infections, such as swollen and tender gums, severe toothaches, and blackened gums, please schedule an appointment at our dental clinic in Houston.