What Kentwood, MI patients need to know about root canals

When you are a little kid, losing a tooth is an exciting milestone to be celebrated. However, once your adult teeth come in, it is a different story. If you are in danger of losing one, you want to do everything possible to save it. That is exactly why root canal therapy is one of the most important procedures we offer here at Kentwood Family Dental Care.

What is a root canal?

Technically, a root canal is part of a tooth. It is a space inside the tooth root that houses nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissues, which are cumulatively called dental pulp. The root canal connects to the pulp chamber in the upper part of the tooth, which serves the same function. What is commonly known as “a root canal” is root canal therapy, or endodontic treatment. It is a dental procedure that removes damaged and diseased tissue from the root canal and pulp chambers.

Why might you need root canal therapy?

When a tooth is healthy and strong, hard materials such as enamel and dentin protect the pulp. However, deep decay, fractures, or other damage can open a passageway for bacteria to get inside the tooth. When dental pulp gets infected or injured, it is not likely to heal. Instead, the infection spreads within the tooth and to the gums and bone. Without treatment, it can eventually erode the structures that support your tooth.

Signs you may need root canal therapy include:

  • One tooth becomes darker than the others
  • Sores or abscesses on your gums
  • Constant or intermittent toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity to pressure or temperature change
  • Swelling or darkening of the gums
  • Deep decay
  • Broken or damaged tooth

About the procedure

There is a common belief that root canal treatment is painful. In the past, that may have been true. Thankfully, today we have better tools, better techniques, and better anesthetics. Here at Kentwood Family Dental Care, we take advantages of all those things, as well as using the gentlest methods possible. In our office, root canal therapy is a comfortable, precise procedure performed in just a few steps.

First, your dentist will numb the treatment area, preventing pain. Next, she will create a small opening and use specialized instruments to clean out all the infection and diseased tissue from within the tooth. Lastly, the canals and chambers are sterilized, filled, and sealed. Once the process is complete, we usually recommend a dental crown to protect the tooth and restore its full functionality and beautiful appearance.

We are here to help

If you have a damaged or painful tooth, please do not hesitate to call us at (616) 612-1176. Dr. Michelle Vandyke will examine the tooth, determine whether root canal therapy or another treatment is needed to get you out of pain and back to loving your smile.