Root canal treatment, also called root canal therapy, is a procedure used to treat
problems of the inside of the tooth, or the dental pulp. It is a way to save teeth that
might otherwise have to be pulled.
The treatment could involve from one to three visits to your dentist or Endodontist, (root canal specialist). During treatment, the diseased pulp is removed and the pulp chamber and root canals of the tooth are cleaned and sealed.
The root canals of a tooth are the parts of the pulp cavity which are inside the roots,
and in a healthy tooth contain the vital (live) pulp tissues. The pulp is made up of
mostly nerves and blood vessels. The nerves inside the tooth are responsible for
transmitting feelings of pain and temperature inside the tooth. Root canals have
different shapes in each tooth. They can also vary between different people and
races, and they also can narrow as you get older.
Root canal treatment is the removal of damaged or infected nerves and tissue from the
inside of your tooth’s pulp chamber.
Inside the root of every tooth is a nerve, with pulp surrounding and protecting the
nerve and a blood supply that extends out the end of the root to your circulatory
system. This space inside the root is called the canal space.
Root canal therapy involves drilling a small opening in the tooth, removing the nerve,
blood supply and pulp. The canal is then cleaned, shaped, sterilized and the end of the
root and canal space is then sealed off with a filling material, much like a cavity or hole
in your tooth would be filled. A root canal is a repair to the inside of the tooth and is
the only alternative for internal tooth nerve damage or tooth abscess besides having
the tooth removed.
Root canal treatment allows you to keep a tooth you would otherwise have to have
pulled. When there is infection inside the tooth, there is no cure. The bacteria
continue to spread to the nerve and surrounding tissue.
Many people wonder why medications, like antibiodics, cannot cure the infection. The
fact is that the tissues swell, cutting off the blood supply so there is no way to get
the medication to the area. Yes, they can help surrounding tissue, but cannot reach
the inside of the tooth.
Without proper treatment, a diseased tooth will abscess and become a life threatening
situation. With your brain only inches away from your tooth, there have been cases of
systemic infection that resulted in death.
Root canal treatment can be painless if caught early. Like most problems, the longer
you wait the worse it can be to treat. See your dentist right away if you feel any pain
with chewing, or to hot and cold foods.