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If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may need root canal treatment:

–Severe tooth pain when chewing.
–Prolonged tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
–Swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gums.
–A recurring or persistent pimple on your gums.
–Discoloration or darkening of your infected tooth.

If a tooth becomes infected due to deep tooth decay, cracks in the tooth, repeated dental procedures or trauma, a root canal can restore the tooth. If the pulp is not removed it will break down, allowing bacteria to multiply in the pulp chamber. This can lead to a pus-filled pocket which forms at the tip of the tooth root. This can cause swelling not just at the site but to the face, neck or head as well.

A tooth is composed of three parts: the hard, white enamel which you can see, another hard layer under the enamel called the dentin, and the pulp, which is the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Once a tooth has fully developed, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth is nourished by the surrounding tissues.

During a root canal, a dentist or endodontist will numb the tooth. An opening is created through the crown to the pulp chamber. The infected pulp is removed and the inside is cleaned and disinfected. The tooth is filled and sealed with a rubber compound, known as gutta-percha. This keeps the canals free from contamination and infection. Finally, the tooth receives a dental crown to protect it. The restored tooth is now free to function just like your normal tooth!

Typically, a root canal procedure is done in one or two visits. And contrary to rumors, a root canal procedure can be as comfortable as having a filling done. If you suspect you might need a root canal, see your dentist to determine if a root canal can indeed restore your healthy, beautiful smile!