Natural teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Even if one of your teeth becomes injured or decayed, it can often be saved through a specialized dental procedure known as root canal. Root canals involve the removal of the tooth’s pulp or “nerve.” Once removed, this pulp is replaced with materials to seal off the canal from surrounding tissues.
Commonly asked questions about root canals
Are root canals painful?
While root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful, most people report the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed. The discomfort experienced before seeking dental care is truly the painful period of time, not the root canal procedure itself. Some patients listen to music during the procedure to relax.
What damages a tooth's nerve or pulp?
Nerve or pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected in the following ways: deep decay, repeated procedures on a tooth, repeated procedures on a large filling, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.
What are the signs that a root canal treatment is needed?
Severe toothache upon chewing or application of pressure Prolonged sensitivity/pain to hot or cold temperatures Darkening of the tooth Swelling and tenderness in the gums or face A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums Sometimes no symptoms are present
What is the success rate for root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is highly successful — the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. A tooth with a root canal can provide years of service similar to adjacent teeth that have not been treated. In most instances following a root canal, a crown is required to restore and strengthen your tooth.
What are the alternatives to a root canal?
The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture, which are needed to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting.