A root canal is performed when the root of a tooth becomes severely infected or abscessed. During the procedure, the dentist removes the nerve within the root of the tooth and replaces it with another material. Once the bad area of the root and nerve is gone and the cavity filled, the dentist will seal the tooth and put a protective, temporary cap over the top. Once the area has completely healed, the patient will return and the dentist will put a permanent crown over the tooth to prevent it from being broken or damaged over time. Root canals can be extremely painful, but once the procedure has been completed, most of the discomfort is gone permanently.
An infected root can go deep into a person's jawline. The nerves of the tooth are inside the root. When the root becomes infected or inflamed, the nerves send pain signals to the brain. The longer the infection is allowed to remain in the root, the more extreme the pain will get. During a root canal, the nerve is removed as well as any of the damaged root. The face and mouth contain a large abundance of nerves that all affect the mouth. Unless the infection or abscess is addressed, it can quickly spread throughout the mouth and eventually make its way into the ears.
A root canal procedure will heal rather quickly if it is properly cared for. It may take up to a week to eliminate any infection that may have been present prior to the root canal. Once it has been taken care of, the healing of the tooth and any nearby tissues that may have been affected will only take a few, short days. After the procedure, the dentist will provide the patient with a list of instructions to help the healing process go as quickly as possible. The doctor will check the progress and, within a few weeks, a permanent crown will be used to cover the top of the tooth and prevent any more damage to the root.