You've no doubt heard the term root canal before, but you may not have a good idea of what is involved in the treatment or why it is performed. Still, you probably have some preconceived notions about root canals, especially given its reputation for pain and discomfort. This is actually one of many misconceptions about root canal therapy. Modern dental technology has reduced pain and discomfort during treatment, and it can actually be more painful to avoid necessary root canal treatment than to undergo the procedure.
When you meet with a skilled cosmetic dentist, you'll be able to learn more about root canal therapy and what it entails. Right now, we'd like to look at the basics to clear up some of those misconceptions you may have.
The Structure of the Teeth
Within each tooth is a chamber full of dental pulp. This soft tissue is protected by the outer enamel and dentin layers of the tooth, and its purpose is to nourish a tooth and connect it to nerve endings in the jawbone and tooth root.
What Root Canal Therapy Means
Root canal therapy means the removal of the dental pulp from the chamber of a tooth in order to alleviate severe pain and discomfort. It is a common procedure performed by a cosmetic and restorative dentist and one that is necessary for good dental health and overall general health.
When is a root canal necessary?
A root canal is necessary for restorative dentistry care when the pulp within the tooth has been infected or injured. This can occur when the bacteria in the mouth has accessed the pulp chamber as a result of severe tooth decay or major damage to a tooth's structure.
The Root Canal Procedure
During the root canal procedure, the pulp chamber must first be accessed. This means that the dentist will need to administer local anesthetic and then drill into the tooth, removing damaged and compromised tooth material in the process. The dental pulp is then removed and the pulp chamber sterilized. It's important that all bacteria is cleaned from the pulp chamber to ensure that infection does not continue or spread.
Once the dental pulp is removed and the pulp chamber is cleaned, the pulp chamber is then filled with an inert material. The procedure is completed by the placement of a dental crown. Dental crowns will protect the tooth from further damage and improve bite strength as well as providing an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the treated tooth.
Preventing Serious Dental Health Issues
In order to prevent the need for a root canal, preventative and general dental care are essential. Patients need to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss every night. Going for regular dental check-ups every six months will also help catch minor problems with tooth damage and tooth decay before they progress and become serious dental health matters.