What is a root canal? When is root canal therapy necessary? Root canal therapy is used to save a tooth when the pulp inside the tooth is infected or inflamed. It’s always better to save a tooth than to lose one. When you lose a tooth, your other teeth may become crooked and cause you to have bite problems. If your dentist recommends a root canal, you will want to have it done as soon as possible. Waiting too long can make the infection worse. The infection can cause problems with the bone that holds the tooth. When that happens, it could be impossible to save the tooth. Infection in one tooth can also spread to the other teeth. What is root canal therapy? The dentist removes the damaged tissues from inside the tooth and replaces them with permanent dental material. Then a temporary crown is placed on the tooth to keep it from breaking. You will need to return to the dentist to get a permanent crown. This may take several appointments but it’s very important to complete the process. What are symptoms of root canal problems? The most common are tooth sensitivity to cold or hot, sharp pain when biting or tapping the tooth, or a constant toothache. What should I do after a root canal? Brush and floss your teeth every day and avoid chewing hard foods on that tooth until your permanent crown is in place. See your dentist every six months, because when tooth decay is found early you won’t need to have a root canal.