Root canal treatment or endodontic treatment are the more correct terms for a procedure that treats the nerve of the tooth. Your teeth are held in place by roots that extend into your jawbone. Front teeth usually have one root. Other teeth have two or more roots. The tip of each root is called the apex. blood vessels and nerves enter the tooth through the apex. They travel through a canal inside the root, and into the pulp chamber. This chamber is inside the crown (the part of the tooth you can see in your mouth). When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection of the tooth. A “root canal” is a treatment of the pulp of the tooth that is inflamed, infected, or dead. Root canal therapy is necessary because the tooth will not heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection will spread, the bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate and the tooth may fall out. When the root canal is treated, the pulp of the tooth is removed and all the canals and the pulp chamber of the tooth are filled and sealed to prevent bacteria from entering.
Signs you MAY need a root canal include:
- A severe toothache upon chewing or application of pressure.
- Prolonged sensitivity or pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed).
- Discoloration (darkening) of the tooth.
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
- Sometimes no symptoms are present