Root canal therapy is a relatively common procedure that can help you keep a tooth that has been severely damage or decayed. A root canal dentist, also known as an endodontist, specializes is treating the interior tissues of the tooth, called the pulp.
When Is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?
The part of the tooth we are most familiar with is the hard outer layers—the enamel on the outside and the layer of dentin just beneath it. However, also very important to the functioning of the tooth is the pulp. These soft tissues consist of cardiovascular, nervous, and connective cells that help feed the tooth and also transmit sensation so your tooth can register changes in temperature and pressure.
These interior tissues sometimes become infected or damaged, usually due to trauma or extensive decay. If the tooth is broken or cracked bacteria can enter the pulp, leading to eventual infection. Trauma can also burst blood vessels in the pulp, causing bleeding in the interior of the tooth. Usually, root canal therapy is necessary to save a tooth with infection or damage in the pulp.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
In root canal therapy, an endodontist uses files of various sizes to remove all the pulp from the body of the tooth as well as the roots. This prevents the infection from spreading to other teeth or into the jawbone or sinus cavities. Once the infected tissue is removed, the tooth’s interior is sterilized and filled with a special resin to replace the pulp. Finally, the tooth is prepared for a dental crown. The crown ensures that the tooth remains usable.
After root canal therapy, your tooth can no longer sense temperature or pressure, but is fully functional. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic, with sedation if you prefer. Though the procedure has gained a bad reputation, it is comparable to having a filling placed, and allows you to keep a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted to prevent the infection from spreading and to eliminate the discomfort that accompanies damage to the tooth pulp.
To learn more about root canal treatment and its benefits, call our office today!