What is root canal treatment and why do I need one?
27 June 2016
When somebody talks about a root canal treatment, they are usually referring to a dental procedure that is more accurately known as "endodontic therapy". Every adult tooth has roots that attach it to the gum. Inside the tooth there are hollow spaces called root canals that contain a pulp chamber.
This is a very important part of your tooth because it is what allows nutrients such as calcium to enter the tooth and keep it healthy.
Because the surface of your teeth is constantly wearing down, your body needs to be able to gradually restore the tooth, much in the same way that your skin replenishes itself from the dermis up to the epidermis. It's a very gradual process that happens layer by layer.
From the beginning of the process, your teeth contain a substance called dental pulp. As blood flows into the tooth to nourish it, the pulp helps to filter nutrients from the blood that it uses to produce dentin. Dentin is basically the same as ivory, and it is the slightly softer material that exists just below the enamel surface of the tooth.
Dentin is the final step in the process of moving calcium from the blood supply to the enamel where it is needed. It also acts as a shock absorber, so that when your teeth clash together with moderate force, it won't do too much damage.
Sometimes the pulp of a tooth gets infected for some reason. If this happens, it causes swelling, heat, and pain. In order to relieve this, the easiest and quickest way is to remove the infected pulp. This is exactly what a root canal procedure does. Although it sounds a bit scary, it actually provides great relief to patients and takes away the terrible pain that results from infected pulp tissue.
Keeping your teeth free from infection is important not only because an infected tooth causes pain, but also because the infection can have an impact on your overall state of health. This is why if you have infected dental pulp in your teeth, a root canal procedure will be necessary.
Root Canal Procedure
The procedure firstly involves the application of anaesthetic to reduce the pain sensation. Special tools are then used to precision drill into the tooth from the top, through the dentin, and into the root canal. Then using a very thin brush-like tool, the dentist removes the pulp from the pulp chamber. Once the pulp has been removed, an artificial filler is used to fill out the empty space. Then the tooth is capped to close the hole that was made to perform the procedure.
Root canal treatment procedure graph
Once a tooth has been treated with a root canal procedure, it is unable to create new dentin or enamel, so your dentist will not recommend a root canal procedure unless it is absolutely necessary. Usually it is the only way to save your tooth, eliminate the pain of the condition, and ensure your overall health doesn't suffer as a result of the infection.
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