In spite of its bad reputation, the root canal procedure is an important way to help preserve a tooth that has been seriously damaged. Without the procedure, the tooth would probably have to be extracted and replaced. The procedure has also been refined over time so that today’s root canal is much more comfortable than those of past years.
What is a Root Canal?
The root canal itself is the interior of the tooth, which is filled with soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp consists of cardiovascular, neural, and connective tissue that help deliver blood and sensation to the tooth. Under normal conditions, the pulp is protected by the dentin and enamel. However, these harder layers can be compromised by trauma or decay, allowing bacteria to enter the pulp. This leads to infection.
A root canal procedure removes all the infected tissue from the tooth’s interior. Your endodontist drills a hole in the tooth and then uses special tools to remove the pulp and smooth out the tooth’s interior surfaces. The tooth is then disinfected and filled with a sterile resin, then fitted with a dental crown. After the procedure, the tooth is fully functional but no longer experiences sensation.
Reasons for a Root Canal
A root canal is necessary when a tooth’s interior has become severely infected. In some cases, the endodontist will treat the infection with antibiotics first, only proceeding to endodontic treatment if the infection persists. Some of the main causes of infection to the tooth pulp include:
- Severe decay
- Severe trauma
- Cracks in the tooth
- Severe wear and tear
If left untreated, infection in the pulp can spread into the jawbone, adjacent teeth, facial bones, or even into the sinuses and the brain. The side effects for this type of infection, if it is allowed to spread, can be very serious or even fatal. With root canal treatment, however, the infection is brought under control and you are able to keep your tooth.
Contact us at Access Endodontics today to discuss your own treatment!