ROOT CANAL THERAPY is a common treatment. Let’s explore why someone might need this procedure.
Let’s start with the basics of a tooth:
ABOVE THE GUM – CROWN of TOOTH
The crown is what you see when you smile or open your mouth. It’s the part that sits above your gumline. An outer enamel layer and the dentin inside protect the tooth’s underlying structures and prevent bacteria from entering the tooth.
BELOW THE GUM – ROOT of TOOTH
The root is below the gumline. It makes up about 2/3rds of the tooth’s total length. The root has canals which house the pulp and extend attaching to the underlying bone.
The pulp is what helps nourish the tooth and is made up of tiny blood vessels and nerves. The blood vessels carry nutrients to the tooth, and the nerves give feeling to the tooth. The pulp tissue enters and exits through openings at the root tips. Said more simply – pulp is a bunch of tiny blood vessels and nerves inside the canals of the root holding your tooth in place.
BACTERIAL INVASION – WHERE PROBLEMS CAN OCCUR
Unhealthy Tooth Bacteria can invade your tooth through a loose filling, a cavity, or a crack.
In the initial stages, the cavity can be cleaned and a tooth colored filling can be placed to restore it. However, once the pulp (below the gumline) becomes infected by the bacterial attack, you cannot cleanse, brush, rinse, or wish that bacteria out.
IF IGNORED – THE SITUATION ESCALATES
If left untreated, the inflammation and infection in the tooth’s pulp will spread down the root canal, often causing sensitivity to hot or cold foods, throbbing, aching, or pain when you chew. This infection process may lead to the bone getting infected as the bacteria escape through the root openings. The bone breaks down, and your ligament surrounding the root may swell and loosen the tooth.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT CAN SAVE THE TOOTH!
The goal of root canal therapy is to restore the health of this damaged tooth and remove the trouble causing bacteria.
During treatment, the pulp is removed from the tooth’s root canals through a small opening in the crown. Then the canals are cleaned and disinfected.
Once the decay is removed the canals are sealed with an inert material that occupies the space vacated by the removal of the pulp.
AFTER TREATMENT – THE TOOTH NEEDS REINFORCEMENT
After the inside of the tooth has been treated, the outside will be restored to protect your tooth’s underlying structures and to bring the tooth back into function. Remember the tooth isn’t going to get the same nutrients that the pulp once carried, so it can become brittle. Therefore, the tooth is held together and protected by a tooth-colored ceramic or porcelain crown.
After root canal therapy the tooth should function and feel like other teeth. One should take care of the treated tooth the same as other teeth. Brush at least two minutes twice a day and floss frequently. Also, have regular dental checkups, cleanings, and any other dental work needed so teeth last as long as you do!
Root Canal Therapy saves teeth, keeps surrounding teeth from shifting, and helps you keep your confident smile. Please let us know if you have questions about this or any other dental topic. Comfort Dental wants you and your family to have healthy smiles for a lifetime!