It’s National Root Canal Appreciation Day! Most of us have had a cavity at some point in our life, but there are times when cavities go deeper than the surface of the tooth itself. This is when a dentist might recommend a root canal. We would like to explain to you exactly why a root canal might be needed, what it is, and what to expect during the actual root canal procedure.
Reasons for a Root Canal:
Tooth infections occur when the pulp of the tooth becomes irreversibly inflamed. The pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. If these nerves inside the pulp become irreversibly damaged, that is when a root canal or extraction is often recommended. The ADA Mouth Healthy article, “Root Canals: FAQS About Treatment That Can Save Your Tooth,” explains that it can become infected if you have a deep cavity, repeated dental procedures that disturb this tissue, a cracked or fractured tooth, or if there is injury to the tooth (even without a visible crack or chip).
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal procedure cleans out the infection in the pulp, or the dead nerve tissue. This procedure is then usually followed by a crown or filling for a final restoration.
A root canal is similar to a routine filling and can usually be completed in one to two appointments. Below is the process of the root canal procedure:
- A small entry is made into the tooth, and the inflamed and infected pulp is removed.
- The inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned, disinfected, and reshaped.
- The pulp’s canals are filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha to seal them from germs.
- The tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection.
Root canal procedures have improved dramatically over the years and have really become part of routine dental care. Life expectancy has also lengthened over the last several decades. Because of that, it is ideal to maintain the teeth we have over a longer period of time. Root canals are an important dental procedure that help make this possible.
“Root Canals: FAQs About Treatment That Can Save Your Tooth.” Mouth Healthy. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/r/root-canals. Accessed May 5, 2023.