Getting a Root Canal
Even through the most valiant efforts, it is possible that the tooth can become damaged. Things like decay, cracks, chips, and abscesses can lead to bacterial infection in the nerve system of the tooth, which can eventually lead to the loss of the tooth. When this occurs, your dentist will most likely recommend a root canal therapy procedure. Known as just a root canal for short, this procedure completely removes the bacteria, as well as all the nerves and tissues, from the center of the tooth. Every tooth has a pulp chamber in the center that holds dental pulp, a living tissue that creates dentin and perceives sensory extremes, like temperature and trauma, as pain. The pulp chamber also has small canals that travel down the root of the tooth into the bone, allowing connection between the pulp and the nerves. After the tooth is fully developed and has erupted, the pulp doesn’t do anything of importance except transmit pain. Thus when the tooth is damaged significantly and infection has or will set in, the best thing to do is to remove the bacteria and pulp, and completely clear out the chamber and root canals. Your Dentist or Endodontist will drill into your tooth, after you’ve been successfully anesthetized of course, and remove the infected pulp by scraping it out from the chamber and canals. After this, the fully clean openings are filled with an inert material, most often gutta percha due to its physical and chemical properties. Finally a crown is fixed on top, making the tooth fully functional. Sometimes the procedure will be split between two appointments one week apart. In this case, a temporary material is placed in the tooth to be replaced a week later with the permanent filling. The extra week is used to make sure there are no other complications, like returning pain caused by incomplete removal of pulp. But the root canal procedure has a very high success rate, almost guaranteeing you’ll be back to chewing on your tooth in no time at all.