If you are like many people, you may have heard of root canal therapy but may not know much about it. This type of therapy is used to alleviate the discomfort that arises from dental nerves that have been irreparably damaged. Here is a bit of information about root canal therapy and when it is needed:

What occurs during root canal therapy?

As root canal therapy is performed, the material inside the tooth is removed, and the tooth is subsequently filled and capped. The innermost layer of a tooth is the pulp. This soft material includes the blood vessels and dental nerves of the tooth. When the pulp is removed, any discomfort associated with the tooth should be alleviated because the nerves are no longer present. 

After the pulp’s removal, the interior of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The tooth is then filled and covered with a suitable dental crown. A tooth-colored crown is usually selected for aesthetic purposes.

What are some reasons that a root canal becomes necessary?

A root canal can become necessary for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of them:

Abuse of Over-the-counter Teeth-whitening Kits

Teeth-whitening kits are considered safe, but they should only be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Kits that are used too often can result in chronic dental sensitivity. The nerves can become irreversibly inflamed by the chemicals used in the whitening products. 

Severe Dental Infections

If a tooth becomes infected, you may notice multiple symptoms, such as pain, discoloration of the tooth, an abscess on the gums near the tooth and an increase in dental sensitivity to pressure, cold and heat. The administration of an antibiotic to quell the infection may alleviate some of the symptoms, but if the nerves have been damaged during the infection, a root canal may be needed. Not only does the root canal remove any infected material that may be remaining in the tooth, but it also removes the inflamed dental nerves that cause your discomfort.

Dental Decay

A minor cavity may only breach the surface of the tooth enamel. However, deep cavities can invade the dentin and the underlying pulp, inflaming the nerves of the tooth. Root canal therapy may be necessary to relieve the pain and protect the tooth from further decay.

To learn more about root canals and why they are performed, schedule an appointment with a dentist, such as Jeffrey S. Thaller DMD, in your area.