Root canal treatment is a necessary procedure in order to save the tooth when the tooth is badly infected or broken. Root canals have an inaccurate reputation for being painful but are as pain-free as a simple filling. To understand why root canals are needed, it is important to understand the anatomy of the tooth. In the center of your tooth is the “pulp” which is the nerve and blood supply that runs up and down the roots. The nerve is the sensory unit for the tooth. When the nerve gets irritated beyond repair or infected by bacteria, then root canal treatment is necessary to relieve painful symptoms and sterilize the tooth from infection.
Causes of an irritated or infected pulp
- A deep cavity
- A cracked or broken tooth
Root canal therapy is initiated by accessing the infected or inflamed nerve chamber. Small files are used to remove the nerve tissue and clean out the roots. A series of rinses are used to kill bacteria in the center of the tooth. Once the tooth is cleaned and sterilized, a rubber-like filling material called Gutta Percha is used to fill-up and seal the center of the roots where the nerve tissue once was. After the root canal treatment is completed, a filling is placed in the center of the tooth to cover the gutta percha and fill the empty space in the middle of the tooth. Teeth that have had root canals completed are more prone to fracturing and require a crown to help hold the tooth together and prevent fractures.
Ultimately, root canal therapy is a safe and effective way of saving individual teeth, so you can smile the rest of your life!