When Is a Root Canal the Answer?


Most people are able to recognize the early symptoms of a cavity, such as sensitivity or discoloration along crevices. But few are able to detect when they have a full-blown infection that may require root canal treatment. Many more are confused at what a root canal means, often mistakenly believing that root canal treatment, itself, is quite painful. That myth is probably because people only need root canal treatment when they have already developed an infection, which can be quite painful. The treatment is designed to keep you comfortable during the procedure, and to eliminate your dental pain following the procedure.

Are you experiencing sensitivity, discomfort or pain?

The more pain you’re experiencing, the more likely it is that a cavity has progressed into an infection. This distinction is often the difference between a filling serving as sufficient restorative treatment, or root canal therapy becoming necessary.

This is one reason professional checkups are so important, because they enable a dentist to catch and treat dental problems when they’re still beginning and when minimally invasive treatment is still highly effective. A filling serves to protect a tooth from infection, after a cavity. Without this protection, however, a fragile tooth is likely to develop an infection.

What does root canal treatment entail?

During a root canal, the dentist will use anesthesia to keep you calm and comfortable while he or she works. The first step is to carefully remove all portions of the tooth that have become infected, as well as any debris that may have entered into the tooth.

After cleaning, the dentist will then sanitize the area, and seal it. In most cases the dentist will use a crown to help protect a tooth, after a root canal.