Root canal therapy is becoming one of the most common dental procedures performed. It is estimated that 10+ million people get root canals every year. It is a simple procedure, with little or no discomfort, that saves and restores your natural tooth, rather than having to remove it. A root canal can be accomplished in usually one to three visits.
A root canal is needed when the center of the tooth (the pulp/nerve) becomes infected with bacteria, due to decay, fracture, or trauma. When bacteria enter the pulp, it results in an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. This abscess may even be visible in the mouth by swelling or a bump on the gum. Leaving this active infection can cause harm and may result in your tooth having to be removed. Teeth that need root canals are not always painful, but some symptoms include, sensitivity to temperature, pain when chewing, severe toothache, dark discoloration of the tooth and swelling/tenderness near that tooth.
Root canal therapy involves removing the infected pulp and cleaning out the tissue and sealing it. The tooth is filled with a dental composite. If there was limited tooth structure due to extensive decay or fracture, a crown may be recommended to protect the tooth from future breakage.