Root canal treatment, also known simply as “root canal,” is a procedure that can repair or even save a badly decayed or infected tooth. Root canals also alleviate pain and make teeth healthy again.
About the Root Canal
A tooth consists mostly of dentin, which is a hard, light yellow, porous layer of tissue that sits just below the outer layer of enamel. Deep inside the dentin is the tissue known as the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels that helped the tooth grow early in its development. The root canal connects the nerves and blood vessels in the root of the tooth to the jawbone.
A fully developed tooth no longer needs the blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue inside the root canal to live. Infection or tooth decay, however, can reach the nerves inside the root canal to cause dental pain or even cause widespread damage deep inside the tooth.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatments have come a long way – because of modern dental technology and anesthesia, today’s root canal procedures are no more painful than other dental procedures. Dentists save millions of damaged and diseased teeth each year with the root canal procedure.
Endodontists are dentists who have special training and expertise in diagnosing and treating problems affecting the root canal. During root canal treatment, the endodontist removes the damaged and diseased tissue, including the nerve and blood vessels, from within the root canal.
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, begins with a comprehensive dental exam and x-rays to determine the extent of damage within the root canal. Next, the dentist creates an opening in the crown at the top of the tooth. The endodontist then uses small tools to clean out the root canal and pulp and to shape the interior of the tooth to receive a filling. Finally, the dentist fills the prepared tooth with a biocompatible material, usually, a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, to seal it. After the tooth has healed, the patient returns for the placement of a crown that holds the restoration in place and protects the tooth.
For more information about a root canal, contact Friends and Family Dental.