Damage to the tooth pulp can lead to persistent discomfort or extreme sensitivity. Root canal therapy, the treatment for this type of damage, ends this discomfort while keeping your tooth intact and fully usable.
What is the Root Canal?
Root canal is the term usually used to refer to a specific dental procedure, but it is actually the name of an anatomical part of the tooth. The tooth consists of two hard layers—the visible enamel and the darker dentin that lies just beneath it. Inside the tooth, however, is a cavity that houses the tooth pulp. The pulp is made up of soft tissues such as blood vessels and nerves that keep the tooth alive. They deliver blood to the tooth and also provide sensation.
Normally, the hard outer layers protect the soft pulp. Trauma, decay, or other damage, however, can allow bacteria to enter the pulp, causing infection. When this tissue becomes infected, root canal therapy is necessary to remove the damaged tissue and keep the infection from spreading. If left untreated, the infection can travel to other parts of the mouth or even into the jawbone, skull, or sinuses.
How Does Root Canal Therapy Work?
Root canal therapy is performed by an endodontist—a dentist who specializes in treating problems with the tooth pulp. The procedure involves removing all the infected tissue from the tooth’s interior, including the nerve tissue that enables the tooth to sense pressure and temperature. The root canal is sterilized, filled, and sealed, then fitted with a dental crown. The crown provides structural integrity and allows you to continue to use the tooth normally.
With root canal therapy, you will once again be free of discomfort such as toothaches, headaches, swelling, or extreme sensitivity. The treated tooth will be “dead,” in the sense that it no longer experiences sensation and no longer has a blood supply, but it remains usable. The work of your endodontist allows you to keep the tooth in the long term, eliminating the need for tooth replacement.
Contact Access Endodontics today to discuss your own personal treatment options.