Understandably, many patients confuse a root canal that refers to the part of the tooth with a root canal procedure. These terms often get mixed up because the word “root canal” refers to the part of the tooth, while the procedure is completed to remedy that particular part of the tooth. The actual root canal is a hollowed-out portion of the tooth that contains the pulp, nerve-endings, and blood vessels. If the canal experiences disease, the pulp and nerve endings in the tooth can become infected. The root canal treatment removes the infected nerve tissue and cleans and shapes the root so that a filling can be placed in the cleaned area.  With modern technology, root canal treatments can be fairly comfortable and, in most cases, absolutely painless. 

Some symptoms patients often experience when their root canal becomes infected include:

Pain – If you find that your tooth undergoes sensitivity when consuming cold or hot drinks, then you may have a root canal infection. 

Darkening Teeth – If you begin to notice that your tooth is starting to have a brown/yellow hue, then there is a chance that you have a root canal infection.

Swelling of the Gums- Another sign that you might be suffering from a root canal infection could be the feeling of tenderness and swelling in your gums. 

How a Root Canal Treatment Works 

Treatments can be nerve-wracking due to the unknowns. Here we will tell you exactly what goes on during a root canal treatment. First, the dentist or endodontist (root canal specialist) will create a small hole on the outside of the tooth and through the small hole they will begin to remove the pulp tissue from the tooth, while the patient is numb. Next, they will clean the root canal and replace the infected portion with a rubber material that fills the canal spaces. After that step is complete, the small hole will be sealed with a filling material.  The tooth may need a crown to prevent fracture and to protect the tooth from infection in the future. Depending on the extent of infection or root canal anatomy, more than one appointment may be needed for the root canal treatment.  

If you have tooth pain, consider visiting your local dentist for a check-up. If you are located in the Vancouver or New Westminster areas, schedule an appointment with Asante Dental. For more information about maintaining your dental health, browse the Asante Dental blog.