Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (endodontic treatment) is a set of specialized procedures designed to treat problems of the soft pulp (nerve) tissue inside the tooth. Unlike public belief, the procedure is no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. It's actually one of the most effective ways of relieving some kinds of tooth pain.
A root canal procedure becomes necessary when infection or inflammation develops in the pulp tissue of the tooth. Pulp tissue consists of blood vessels, connective tissue and nerve cells — which explains why a problem here may cause you to feel intense pain. In time, the pain may go away... at least temporarily. Without treatment, however, the infection won't. It can lead to a
dental abscess, and may even contribute to systemic problems in other parts of the body. A natural tooth that's saved via root canal treatment and restoration helps you avoid the problems that commonly occur when teeth must be removed. These include unwanted tooth migration or shifting, which can lead to difficulties in chewing; the need for bridgework or dental implants,
which may be costly and complicated; and even the eventual loss of bone structure from the area of the missing tooth.
What to Expect During Root Canal Therapy
The root canal treatment begins with administering an anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. For many patients, the worst is already over. Next, a small opening is made in the surface of the affected tooth to give access to the pulp
chamber (nerve). Tiny instruments are used to remove the dead and dying pulp tissue from inside
these narrow passageways. The chamber and empty canals are then cleaned, disinfected, and prepared to receive a filling of inert, biocompatible material. Finally, adhesive cement is used to seal the opening in the tooth, preventing future infection.
To further protect the tooth and restore it to full function, it's usually necessary to have a crown or other restoration placed on it.