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Did you know that millions of teeth every year are treated by root canal therapy? It has become a common treatment for saving your pearly whites and your smile!

Let’s take a moment to look at your tooth. The outer, or white enamel, is what we commonly think of when picturing a tooth. And underneath the enamel layer is another hard layer called dentin. Beneath the dentin is a soft tissue, or pulp, with nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.

A tooth which has fully developed can actually survive without the pulp as long as the tooth is nourished by the tissues around it. If a tooth becomes infected—due to deep tooth decay, cracks in the tooth, repeated dental procedures or trauma—a restorative root canal may be necessary.

So what happens during a root canal? First, your dentist will numb the tooth. Then, an opening is created through the crown to the pulp chamber. The infected pulp is then removed and the inside cleaned and disinfected. The tooth is filled and sealed with a rubber compound called gutta-percha. This keeps the canals free from contamination and infection. Finally, the tooth receives a dental crown to protect it. Now the restored tooth can function just like your normal teeth!

If the pulp is not removed it will break down letting bacteria multiply in the chamber. This can lead to an abscessed tooth, or a pus-filled pocket that forms at the tip of the tooth root. This can cause swelling not just at the site but which can spread to the face, neck or head as well.

A root canal procedure can usually be done in one or two visits. Contrary to rumors, a root canal can be just as comfortable as having a filling done.

How to tell if you might need a root canal:

–Experiencing severe tooth pain when you chew or apply pressure.
–Experiencing prolonged tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
–Experiencing swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gums.
–Experiencing a recurring or persistent pimple on the gums.
–Discoloration or darkening of the infected tooth.

At Chicago Family Dental, we are proud to offer one visit root canal treatment. If you suspect you may need a root canal, we invite you to call our office at 312.551.0500 and get the help you need to restore your healthy smile. We are here to make your experience as comfortable and pleasant as possible!