A root canal is a treatment that is used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or that becomes infected. The nerve of the tooth becomes infected or the pulp becomes damaged, and the nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Dental Pulp is the soft area in the center of the tooth where the tooth’s nerve lies. These root canals travel from the tip of the tooth’s root into the pulp chamber, where blood vessels and connective tissue can also be found that nourish the tooth.
When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged it begins to break down, bacteria will begin to multiply within the pulp chamber, and the pulp will need to be removed. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth, and infect the root canal of a tooth.
A tooth’s nerve only provides the sensation of hot of cold, not having the nerve will not negatively affect the daily functions of the tooth.
A root canal procedure involves taking an x-ray to see the shape of the root canals and to determine of there is still any signs of infection left in the surrounding bone. Local anesthesia is then applied to numb the area near the bone.
The tooth is then cleaned out using root canal files, and sealed.
Additional dental work, such as the placement of a crown over the tooth to protect it, might need to be taken, and your dentist will discuss any need for additional work.
Despite it’s bad reputation, root canal procedures are not any more painful than having a filling placed. The discomfort experienced in the period leading up to a seeking of dental care is truly the painful period of time, not the root canal procedure itself.