Root Canal Therapy
What is a root canal?
If you’ve heard the term, then you know the fear the words “root canal” can induce, even in normally tough people. It’s sad, really, because a root canal is one of the most beneficial dental procedures.
The most common cause of tooth pain is decay. If enough time passes, bacteria create a hole in the tooth large enough to access the nerve. Voila! An infection is present and root canal therapy is suggested. The root canal has been misrepresented and gotten a bad rap, because instead of causing pain, it actually eliminates it. A root canal not only ends the life of the nerve, it also removes the tooth’s blood supply – which is why we protect what’s left with a crown.
During the root canal procedure, we clean every bit of nerve tissue from the tooth’s interior and medicate it. Then we seal the tooth from the root to the crown with a resin called gutta percha. It’s like a big filling that runs through the entire tooth. This makes the tooth fragile and necessitates a crown.
Just because you’ve had a root canal and crown doesn’t mean anything will change about your smile or chewing function. Both restore you to full health. If we can ever help you with your smile, let us know!
The term “root canal” literally refers to the space in the root of a tooth containing nerve tissue and blood vessels, but this phrase is very commonly used to describe a dental procedure known as “endodontic therapy.” This procedure is similar to a filling and is performed to save a tooth in which severe decay has reached the root or nerve of the tooth. Most dentists perform this procedure on a daily basis; it is fairly simple, can be completed in a single visit, and – despite the stereotype – it is usually painless.
A tooth requiring a root canal is usually already causing the patient some pain, and the root canal procedure is intended to remove all of the decayed and infected tissue to permanently ‘deaden’ the tooth. First, the dentist drills into the tooth, removing all the decay and pulling out the infected tissue. The empty tooth chamber is then filled with a long-lasting, plastic material to preserve it. Finally, the tooth is fitted with a crown to protect it from any further damage. After this procedure is complete, the patient is left with a ‘dead’ but perfectly functional tooth.
Root canal therapy gets its negative reputation from the pain usually caused by an abscess at the root of an infected tooth. But, make no mistake, this discomfort is present only before the root canal procedure takes place. Patients can avoid this pain and corrective procedure altogether by being diligent in their dental maintenance routines. Brush and floss at least twice a week and visit our office every six months.