Most people cringe when they hear the phrase root canal – it evokes all of the ubiquitous imagery of the horrors of the dentist, drills, and Novocain. The unfortunate truth is, if you need a root canal, you really need a root canal. But the good news is that they aren’t quite as horrifying as they make them out to be on television, and our root canal dentist in Agoura Hills has all of the tools and expertise necessary to make the process as efficient and painless as humanly possible.
So, what exactly is a root canal? Within the tooth is something called pulp, and the places where the pulp meets the roots of the tooth is called the root canal. Sometimes, the root, the pulp, or the nerve of a tooth becomes so severely infected that it cannot be saved, causing a lot of pain. In cases where the inside of the tooth is decayed beyond redemption and the outer portion can still be saved, the tissue in peril is removed in a procedure of the same name, a root canal.
Root canals are perfectly safe, as the sensitive inner tissue of the teeth really doesn’t serve much of a purpose after childhood when all the adult teeth have grown in. There are many issues which can result in a root canal being necessary. Most dentists will agree that the most common of which is probably ordinary decay. Infection and inflammation of the outer tooth can sometimes travel inward, bringing with it heightened sensitivity and severe pain. Damage resulting from physical trauma is also a frequent culprit; cracks and fractures provide outside bacteria and plaque to penetrate the enamel and affect the delicate tissue within. Disease, especially periodontal disease, also puts one at an increased risk.
How can a person know whether or not a root canal is necessary? Acute pain while eating, brushing, flossing, or otherwise putting pressure on the tooth or teeth in question is one easily-perceived early indicator of underlying damage; sensitivity to temperature is also something important to watch out for. Sometimes an infected root will present itself as a small lump pushing through the surface of your gums; bring up any newly-formed sores or lesions when you go in for your semi-yearly check-up. Discoloration may also be a warning sign, as are tenderness or swelling of the gums surrounding the affected tooth.