Root canals are a common dental treatment, and one in which a dentist will use to try to preserve a tooth that may be otherwise healthy on the outside, but where the tooth’s roots have become diseased or damaged.
The process of a root canal involves a dentist removing diseased pulp tissue and the tooth nerves in order to clear out infection and relieve the pain associated with the infection. A tooth can become infected through bacteria entering into the tooth through cavities caused by tooth decay or damage, or other method of inlet in the enamel and dentin layers, such as lost fillings.
A tooth can have one root canal or several canals containing the dental pulp and nerves, and so it is important that a dentist removes all the diseased pulp from inside the tooth. These canals extend the length of the tooth, from the dental crown to the end of the root, which affixes to the patient’s jaw bone, supplying oxygen and blood flow.
Once bacteria has begun to affect the pulp tissue, it can multiply and grow, spreading the length of the canals, causing infection. The infection can cause dental abscesses, and can spread to other teeth if left untreated.
To perform a root canal, the dentist will use special instruments to drill into the affected tooth, in order to remove the infected tissue from the root canals. Once all the diseased tissue has been removed, the dentist cleans and rinses the tooth with antiseptic before it is sealed with a rubbery substance called gutta-percha and a dental crown applied to conceal the filling.
The procedure allows the tooth’s structure to remain intact; an otherwise healthy tooth does not require to be extracted by the dentist in order to alleviate the patient’s condition. Instead, by removing the cause of the infection, the problem is addressed without affecting the surrounding teeth, helping to preserve the patient’s bite alignment and strength.
Performed under anaesthetic by a dentist, root canals are no more uncomfortable than a normal filling and the procedure is very successful, with the tooth receiving root-canal treatment lasting many years when it would otherwise be extracted.
Contact the office of Dr. Richard Sousa, serving Old Westbury and the neighboring areas, to learn if root canal treatment is appropriate in your case.