What are Root Canals?
Inside the tooth is a soft tissue called the pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. The pulp is what helps to grow the root of your tooth as it develops. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, a root canal treatment is necessary. A root canal procedure cleans and reshapes the tunnels or canals in the tooth (where the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth reside) in order to save the tooth. A crown or filling is then often recommended for final restoration.
Why are Root Canals Used?
Inflammation or infection in the pulp of the tooth can be from a variety of causes, primarily from deep decay (cavities), or a crack in the tooth. Trauma to a tooth can also cause pulp damage, even in cases where there are no visible chips or cracks.
There are a number of advantages to saving the natural tooth using a root canal procedure. These include efficient chewing, normal bite force and sensation, a natural appearance and protection for other teeth from excessive wear and strain.
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.