Table of Contents
- What is a root canal?
- Why is a root canal necessary?
- Why is a root canal necessary? (Part 2)
- Why is a root canal necessary? (Part 3)
- How is a root canal procedure performed?
- What happens during a root canal procedure? (Continued)
- Is there pain after getting a root canal?
- Are there special considerations for getting a root canal during pregnancy?
- What kind of problems or complications may occur after a root canal?
- What kind of problems or complications may occur after a root canal? (Continued)
- How long do root canals last?
- How much does a root canal cost?
- Are there any alternatives to a root canal?
- When should a tooth be extracted instead of getting a root canal?
Why is a root canal necessary? (Part 3)
Trauma: If a tooth is hit with great force, the nerve can be severed at the end of the root and eventually die. This could happen immediately after the traumatic incident, or it may happen over many years following the trauma.
Fracture: A tooth that has become fractured may need a root canal if the fracture extends deep into the tooth and reaches the pulp. If a tooth has fractured in a way that doesn't leave very much tooth structure left above the gum line for a crown or other restoration, a root canal may need to be performed so a post can be placed down the canal of the tooth to help retain the restoration.
Resorption: Root resorption is a condition whereby the tooth structure dissolves away as a reaction to injury, trauma, tooth replantation, or aggressive tooth movement during orthodontics. Not all of the causes of resorption are fully understood. If the defect starts from the outside of the root and goes inward, it is called external root resorption. If the tooth dissolves from the middle or inside of the tooth and progresses toward the outside, it is classified as internal resorption. In either situation, the resorption can invade the pulp canal and the vital nerve and blood vessels contained therein. If this occurs, the tooth needs root canal treatment in combination with specialized conditioning and repairing of the defect quickly before the resorption destroys more tooth structure. The defect is typically repaired with a material called mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA). Resorption usually causes no pain and is usually only diagnosed using X-rays.
Repeated dental procedures: Dental procedures produce significant stress on a tooth. Sometimes repeated drilling may cause the pulp of a tooth to become inflamed. The tooth will need to be tested by a dentist to determine whether the inflammation is reversible or irreversible.
In the past, whenever one of these situations happened to a tooth, the only treatment option was to have it extracted. Root canal therapy is an extremely beneficial option that allows for most teeth to be saved in the mouth and used effectively for a very long time. Once the teeth are formed, they don't need the pulp to function properly. The pulp provides the tooth sensation to a stimulus like hot or cold, but it isn't required for the tooth to remain functional in a healthy mouth.