A root canal is a procedure to treat an infected tooth. To understand the process, it helps to think about the structure of your teeth.
The outermost layer of each tooth is a thin shell of hard tissue called enamel. Just beneath lies another layer of hard tissue called dentin.
Beneath the dentin is a hollow chamber filled with a soft tissue called pulp. Your pulp contains a mix of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues.
Tooth pulp plays a critical role in nourishing teeth during the developmental stages, but once you reach adulthood, the pulp is no longer necessary. Your teeth can get all the nourishment they need from adjacent teeth.
When your tooth pulp becomes infected, the only way to correct the problem is to fully remove the pulp. This process is called a root canal.
Pulp infection or inflammation can occur because of advanced decay. A chip or crack in your tooth can also lead to infection, as can traumatic injury. In some cases, there is no clear cause of pulp infection.
The most common sign of an infected tooth is pain that worsens when you chew or bite down. You might also notice:
Don’t let these symptoms linger, as an infected tooth will not resolve itself without treatment.
Your dentist begins by administering a local anesthetic injection to numb the treatment area. Next, a device called a dental dam is placed to isolate the infected tooth.
A small opening is created to allow access to the inner chamber of the tooth. Your dentist uses slim dental instruments to carefully remove all traces of pulp from the chamber and the canals of the tooth roots.
The chamber is thoroughly rinsed before a special material called gutta-percha is placed within the prepared chamber. The opening is closed with a small filling, and a temporary crown is placed while the permanent crown is crafted.
Once your new crown is ready, you’ll return to have it checked for fit before being cemented into place. This completes the root canal restoration.
If you have questions or concerns about root canals or other restoration options, call Time Square Dental Group to set up a visit. Online booking is also available.