What Is a Root Canal and Why Might You Need One?

Just the words root canal sound painful, don’t they? It usually means something is amiss in your mouth and you need treatment. Too bad they can’t come up with a name that sounds less intimidating.

What Exactly Is a Root Canal?

A root canal actually saves your tooth from further decay, infection, or extraction. Truth be told, it is no more painful than any other dental procedure like a simple filling, so don’t let the name scare you. Anesthesia makes the procedure as pain-free as possible, and many patients feel little to no discomfort during their procedure.

During a root canal, the infected or inflamed pulp inside your tooth is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. Manhattan Dental Arts then fills and seals the tooth from any other invaders. It happens to be a very effective treatment to eliminate bacteria from the root canal, and is usually completed in one or two visits. Sometimes the tooth will be restored with a crown to finish off a root canal treatment.

closeup photography of washing the root canal

It can save your natural tooth, eliminate any pain, and allow you to return to normal biting and chewing habits. The appearance of your tooth is left unchanged.

Signs You Might Need a Root Canal

If you notice pain while you chew or bite, it could mean you need a root canal. Swollen or tender gums, being sensitive to hot or cold foods, an injury or a cracked tooth could all be signs that you require a root canal treatment. Trauma or injury to a tooth can cause damage to the pulp even if there is no outward sign of a cracked or chipped tooth.

When the pulp is damaged, bacteria multiplies inside the pulp chamber which can also lead to an abscessed tooth.

Despite the Name

Although the name can put a scare in some people, root canals are performed millions of times each year with a 95% success rate, and with little or no pain. There can be some residual tenderness around the gums for just a few days after the treatment, but an OTC pain medication can give you relief.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of an infected tooth, or if you have additional questions about your root canal procedure, please contact Manhattan Dental Arts at (212) 247-2330 or request an appointment online. Our dental office in the upper west side is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care to patients throughout New York City.

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