Millions of teeth are saved each year with root canal treatment. Root canals are known as an endodontic treatment because they involve treatment of the inside of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the hard enamel and dentin layer, is the pulp of the tooth. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp helps to grow the root of the tooth during development, and because of the nerves and tissue within the pulp, it is highly sensitive. A root canal is necessary when the pulp within the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. An infection in the pulp can be caused by deep tooth decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a faulty crown, or damage to the tooth such as a crack or chip. If the inflammation or infection is left untreated, it will cause severe pain and can lead to an abscess.
During a root canal procedure, a patient will be kept comfortable by local anesthesia around the treatment area. The dentist will remove the inflamed or infected pulp from the inside of the tooth. Then the inside of the tooth will be carefully cleaned and disinfected before it is filled and sealed with a rubber like material called gutta-percha. Afterward, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. Once the procedure is complete, the tooth will function like any other tooth.
People who keep their regular dental appointments and who practice good daily oral hygiene are less likely to have complications with their root canal. A root canal treatment is not something that anyone should put off because of the significant damage that could progress through the mouth. If you are having pain in one or more of your teeth, call you dentist. If you are in need of a root canal, it is best to have it taken care of now rather than later.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Lawrence Rosenman, Springfield Lorton Dental Group
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