Many people hear the words “root canal” and are immediately filled with a sense of dread. And while they might not be something you would choose to do, root canals in Meridian, ID can actually be an effective way to save your natural tooth and prevent infection and other problems. Understanding when you need a root canal, why you might get one, and how they work can help alleviate some of your concerns.

Why Root Canals?

You only get one set of natural teeth (not counting the ones that fell out in elementary school), so it’s important to do your best to take care of the ones you do have. Unfortunately teeth sometimes become decayed or infected on the inside, which can cause tooth loss if it’s not treated properly. Since tooth loss can make it hard to chew, speak, and swallow, can lead to jaw bone loss, and is cosmetically not what most people want, saving a tooth can be a big deal. Root canal procedures in Meridian, ID are designed to save a tooth that has become infected by removing the pulp and nerve inside, cleaning the tooth, and sealing it against further infection. Since the nerve doesn’t play a central role in the overall health and function of your tooth, removing it will not cause lasting damage.

When to Consider a Root Canal

When nerve tissue inside your tooth becomes damaged or breaks down, it creates space for bacteria to grow. This leads to infection and eventually tooth abscess (a pus-filled pocket at the end of the root) with swelling, bone loss, and severe pain. A tooth might become damaged from many different things, but generally it happens as a result of: • Trauma or injury to the face and mouth • Repeated dental procedures performed on a tooth that allow bacteria to get inside • Irritated, inflamed, or infected pulp as a result of deep tooth decay If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should talk to the dentist about the potential for a root canal: • Sensitivity or pain with hot or cold temperatures, even after the stimulus is removed • A “pimple” that persists or recurs on the gums • Extreme pain or toothache when you chew or apply pressure to the tooth • Tender or swollen gums • A dark or discolored tooth

What to Expect During a Root Canal

Root canals generally require more than one visit to your Meridian, ID dentist—or, in the case of severe problems, your endodontist. The procedure begins with an X-ray to check for infection, then local anesthesia to avoid pain. The dentist will drill a small hole to access the pulp and nerve area and clean it out using specialized tools. At a second appointment, the dentist will fill the tooth with a combination of rubber and paste called gutta percha, and fill the holes in the exterior of the tooth similar to a cavity. Weaker teeth may require a crown or restoration to keep them from breaking and restore them to their original appearance and function. The bad news is that sometimes a root canal is necessary, but the good news is that with an experienced dentist in Meridian, ID you can get the procedure done right and avoid further problems with your teeth in the future.

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