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What is Root Canal Treatment?

Aug 17, 2007
Root canal treatment, also called root canal therapy, is a procedure used to treat problems of the inside of the tooth, or the dental pulp. It is a way to save teeth that might otherwise have to be pulled. The treatment could involve from one to three visits to your dentist or Endodontist, (root canal specialist). During treatment, the diseased pulp is removed and the pulp chamber and root canals of the tooth are cleaned and sealed.

The root canals of a tooth are the parts of the pulp cavity which are inside the roots, and in a healthy tooth contain the vital (live) pulp tissues. The pulp is made up of mostly nerves and blood vessels. The nerves inside the tooth are responsible for transmitting feelings of pain and temperature inside the tooth. Root canals have different shapes in each tooth. They can also vary between different people and races, and they also can narrow as you get older.

Root canal treatment is the removal of damaged or infected nerves and tissue from the inside of your tooth's pulp chamber.

Inside the root of every tooth is a nerve, with pulp surrounding and protecting the nerve and a blood supply that extends out the end of the root to your circulatory system. This space inside the root is called the canal space.

Root canal therapy involves drilling a small opening in the tooth, removing the nerve, blood supply and pulp. The canal is then cleaned, shaped, sterilized and the end of the root and canal space is then sealed off with a filling material, much like a cavity or hole in your tooth would be filled. A root canal is a repair to the inside of the tooth and is the only alternative for internal tooth nerve damage or tooth abscess besides having the tooth removed.

Root canal treatment allows you to keep a tooth you would otherwise have to have pulled. When there is infection inside the tooth, there is no cure. The bacteria continue to spread to the nerve and surrounding tissue.

Many people wonder why medications, like antibiodics, cannot cure the infection. The fact is that the tissues swell, cutting off the blood supply so there is no way to get the medication to the area. Yes, they can help surrounding tissue, but cannot reach the inside of the tooth.

Without proper treatment, a diseased tooth will abscess and become a life threatening situation. With your brain only inches away from your tooth, there have been cases of systemic infection that resulted in death.

Root canal treatment can be painless if caught early. Like most problems, the longer you wait the worse it can be to treat. See your dentist right away if you feel any pain with chewing, or to hot and cold foods.
About the Author
Debbie Boynton has worked in dental for eight years. Find more info: Toothache Help Use this article on your website as long as this resource box is included and this article remains unchanged. 2006 Debbie L Boynton
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