At the center of the tooth is a hollow space that contains the nerve supply and blood supply to that tooth, called the pulp. Root canal is the term referring to the complete removal of the pulp within a tooth. It also eliminates any bacteria or infection and then seals the tooth to prevent future bacterial invasion.
First, a hole is cut in the top of the tooth deep enough to expose the hollow space or pulp chamber. A series of small needle-like instruments called files are used to remove the pulp and slightly enlarge the chambers. This is done all the way to the tip of the root or roots. Irrigating solutions are also used to flush out debris and to disinfect any bacteria.
Finally, the cleaned out root is filled with an inert filling material such as gutta percha, which seals the tooth and helps to prevent leakage and further bacterial contamination. The initial hole cut in the tooth is filled, and in most cases, the tooth requires a crown to cover and protect it since it is technically “dead” and will become more brittle and prone to fracture.
Root canals are unfairly viewed as very painful; however, most patients are pleasantly surprised and feel very little or no discomfort during or after the procedure.
Root canals are most commonly necessary in teeth with extensive decay into the nerve, teeth that have sustained trauma, or teeth that have become painful.
Contact our Dickey Family Dentistry in Allen, Texas today to schedule your appointment or with your dental questions at 972.747.777.