A root canal is a type of dental treatment specially designed to remove infected and inflamed pulp inside your tooth. Pulp is the soft tissue that exists in tiny canals that go through each side of the tooth root and up to the center of your tooth.
Pulp contains all the nerves and blood vessels that keep your tooth alive and healthy. When infection occurs in the pulp, it directly affects the nerves, which is why you experience extreme pain.
By the time the pulp is involved, chances are the infection has also invaded the surrounding tissues, where it proceeds to erode the supporting bone. A root canal is the only way to treat an infection inside your tooth, preserve your tooth, and stop permanent damage to the jawbone.
Damaged tooth enamel allows bacteria to get inside the tooth. Your enamel may be damaged by chips, cracks, decay, or a traumatic injury. Even if the damage is so small you don’t notice the problem, it’s still enough for bacteria to get through.
Pain is often the first sign, but you may experience other symptoms that signal it’s time to call the doctors at Chester Family Dentistry to schedule a checkup, such as:
A local anesthetic is applied, then a small opening is made in the surface of the infected tooth. A specially designed, very narrow dental instrument is used to reach the pulp and remove all the soft tissue. The area is cleaned and disinfected, then filled with a biocompatible material, and the opening is sealed to prevent future infection.
In many cases, a crown is used to restore, strengthen, and protect the tooth. You may have other options if the original damage to your tooth was minimal.
The best thing about a root canal -- besides relieving pain and eliminating infection -- is that your natural tooth can last the rest of your life. However, even with a crown, the tooth may become cracked or chipped over time, which makes it susceptible to decay. Routine brushing and flossing and getting your regular dental checkups help ensure the long-term health of your tooth.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!