The root canal treatment is probably one of the better-known dental procedures out there. Chances are you’ve heard of it before – but how does it work and what does it entail? Today, we’re looking at the ins and outs of the root canal treatment, and why your dentist may recommend the treatment.
What is a root canal?
A root canal treatment belongs to a group of procedures grouped together under the term ‘endodontic’. This word is derived from two Greek terms; ‘endo’ for ‘inside’, and ‘odont’ for ‘tooth’. It follows that an ‘endodontic’ treatment involves working on the ‘inside of a tooth’. So, what does a root canal treatment have to do with the inside of your tooth? Well, to explain, we need to cover some basics about the construction of your teeth.
Teeth are made up of a number of layers. The first – enamel – is what you see on the outside, and what you need to keep clean. Beneath it is a soft layer called dentin, and then beneath that there is a soft layer of tissue referred to as pulp. This pulp contains all the blood vessels and nerves, and forms the connection that the exterior layers have with your body.
The pulp exists in the crown of the tooth, but also extends right down into the roots that secure the tooth to your jaw. This helps the pulp supply the tooth with nutrients while it’s growing.
If a tooth sustains damage – such as a deep cavity or a crack – bacteria can enter the tooth and infect the pulp, even if the tooth is no longer using the pulp to grow.
A root canal treatment removes the inflamed or infected pulp from inside the tooth, and replaces it with a synthetic filling, keeping the tooth intact.
How does a root canal treatment work?
Often, pulp can repair itself. If infected, however, it’s common for pulp to lose its ability to self-repair. Once this has happened, it begins to die, and must be removed.
Leaving the pulp as is can cause pain or make the tooth very sensitive to temperature. This can begin to cause problems with neighboring teeth, and cause the mouth to become irritated and the gums to swell up.
A root canal treatment acts to save a tooth from complete removal. The first step is to use a special tool to enter the tooth through the top, and take out the unneeded pulp. To do this, your dentist will use local anesthesia, so you won’t feel anything.
After the anesthesia kicks in, the dentist will remove the pulp through a small hole. Then, all that’s left to do is to fill the tooth with a root filling, and seal the hole with adhesive tooth cement.
Do you need a root canal treatment?
If you’ve damaged your tooth, or suspect you have a cavity, there’s a chance that bacteria have been able to compromise your tooth pulp. Come in for a professional check, and the team at Victoria Street Dental will be able to let you know if you need a root canal or not. If you catch damage early enough, a root canal can save you from the much costlier process of extraction and replacement of a tooth.
Here are Victoria Street Dental, we’re proud to be able to help relieve pain and save teeth every day. Our top of the line equipment allows us to complete procedures with none of the stereotypical dental pain of decades gone by. These days, we’re about to put your comfort first.
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