When a tooth becomes seriously infected or decayed, dentists must repair the tooth with a treatment known as a root canal. More specifically, when the pulp of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected, an endodontic treatment (root canal) is typically required. Neglecting to have root canal therapy may lead to the formation of infection and abscesses in the tissue that surrounds of the tooth. As such, this dental procedure serves to remove the pulp and nerve in order to clean and seal the inside of the tooth.


The term “root canal” refers to the natural cavity that lies in the center of the tooth. The soft region within the root canal is called the pulp and the nerves of the tooth are within the root canal. The nerve is not an essential part of the tooth, meaning that a tooth can still remain in one’s mouth without having the nerve in the tooth. The nerve’s role is to provide sensory functions, particularly the ability to recognize hot and cold. Therefore, removing the nerve does not compromise the tooth’s function or health as it will not influence the day-to-day utility of the tooth.

The objective of a root canal treatment is to remove bacteria and dead or dying nerve tissue from inside of the tooth. Regular dental checkups and proper oral hygiene are essential to keep the mouth as healthy as possible. For more information, contact James Family Dentistry today.

How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?

The need for a root canal can arise in several situations. The tooth’s pulp and nerve may become infected, inflamed, or irritated from multiple sources, all which are likely to require root canal therapy. The following damages may all result in the need for a root canal:

  • Large fillings
  • Deep decay
  • Repeated dental treatment on a tooth
  • Severe trauma to the face
  • Chip or crack in the tooth

There are many cases where a patient may require a root canal yet no symptoms are present. Nevertheless, there are certainly a few indicative warnings. The following are the most common signs that a patient may need a root canal:

  • Tooth is discolored
  • Serious toothaches occur when applying pressure to the tooth or chewing
  • Recurring or constant pimple on the gum
  • Gums near the affected tooth are tender and swollen
  • Extreme and prolonged sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures

Root canal treatment typically fixes the tooth for a lifetime. The procedure itself is highly effective with a success rate above 95 percent, making root canals one of the best methods to treat the tooth damage.

Root Canal Procedure

Root canal therapy is often associated with much pain and discomfort. However, patients must understand that the majority of the tooth pain comes prior to the procedure, when the tooth is ultra sensitive and damaged. With the use of an anesthetic all around the damaged tooth, the patient will feel completely numb during the treatment.

The dentist will then make a small hole in top part of the tooth in order to expose the tooth’s pulp. Next, the pulp will be removed using files, which are special dental tools, some smaller in diameter than a human hair. The tooth’s canals are then cleaned and medicines may be inserted in this area to make sure that further infection is prevented and all germs are removed. Finally, the cleaned tooth is given a temporary, soft sealing. A permanent crown is placed on top of the tooth once it is filled.

With the ability to save the tooth, root canal treatments are critical to potentially prevent the need to remove the damaged tooth. Patients who take good care of their teeth with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist will be placed in the best position to avoid the need for a root canal.

To schedule an appointment today, please contact our Royal Palm Beach office.