root canal

What is a root canal treatment anyway?

“Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal. “Root Canal Treatment” is a treatment of these tissues.

Root canal treatment becomes necessary when the tooth nerve is dying, or has already died and has left behind decaying tissues and bacteria. This process may cause the patient to experience pain to cold, hot and bite, or can happen silently without the patients’ knowledge. Regardless of symptoms, root canal treatment is necessary to prevent bone loss, a reaction of the body against the offending tooth.
In the process of root canal treatment the diseased and dead tissues, the bacteria living on them, and the toxins the dead tissue and bacteria create, are all cleaned away using small, flexible instruments and disinfecting irrigation. The empty space is then filled with an inert material, usually being a synthetic rubber product called Gutta Percha, and sealer. Another alternative filling material used rarely can be mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA).

Root canal treatment is used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or has become infected. A tooth’s nerve is not vitally important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has erupted through the gums. Its only function is sensory — to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth. To learn more about the functions of the various parts of the tooth click here.

For more information regarding other types root canal procedures click on the ‘procedures’ link on the left sidebar.