A root canal is a common treatment for repairing and saving a badly decayed or infected tooth. The nerve and pulp inside the tooth are removed, cleaned, and sealed in the procedure. Without root canal treatment, the tissues around the tooth will get infected and form abscesses.
A root canal refers to the natural cavity at the center of the tooth, with pulp and the pulp chamber comprising the soft area within the root canal. This is where the nerves of the tooth lie. The only function of the nerves of the teeth is for sensory purposes after the tooth has emerged from the gums. The presence or absence of the nerve has no effect on the normal functions of the tooth.
Damage in the tissue or pulp could result in a breakdown that may lead to the development of bacteria within the pulp chamber. The bacteria can cause an abscessed or infected tooth, a pus-filled pocket forming at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess or infection in the root canal of the tooth can cause swelling that could spread to other areas of the face, bone loss around the tip of the root, and drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can form through the side of the tooth and drain through the cheeks and into the skin.
The steps of the root canal
A root canal is the only way to save the abscessed tooth. It can also prevent further injuries to the areas around the tooth.
The first step for the procedure is taking an X-ray to determine the shape of the root canal and check for infections in the surrounding areas.
At Felt Family Dentistry, we typically use local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth. To keep the area dry and free of saliva, we will place a rubber dam around the tooth. We will then drill an access hole into the tooth through which we can remove the decayed nerve tissues and debris. After that, we will scrape and scrub the sides of the canal and flush away the debris.
The tooth will be sealed once it is cleaned. If the root canal is completed in one visit, a temporary filling will be used to seal the tooth.
At the next appointment, we can fill the interior of the tooth with a sealer paste. A filling will be placed at the exterior access hole.
The final step of the root canal procedure is the restoration of the tooth. A crown, or crown with a post, will be placed to restore the tooth’s full function and protect the tooth from breaking down.
Root canals aren’t usually anyone’s idea of a good time, but they are important procedures for saving decaying teeth and preserving your oral health.