When a tooth is badly decayed or infected, sometimes it’s better to perform a root canal and save the rest of the tooth so that extraction doesn’t have to become necessary. A root canal involves the process in which the tooth’s nerves and pulp, which are too badly infected, are removed. Though this technically “kills” the teeth, since it removes the nerves inside, it helps keep the rest of the tooth intact so that you can continue to use it in the future.
What is the tooth’s pulp?
Inside your teeth, there is a soft portion located in the root canal called the pulp. This location is also where your tooth’s nerves are, which serve the function of providing sensory detail to your teeth, such as heat or cold. Root canals work because the nerves of the tooth are not necessary for the function of your teeth once they have fully emerged. Even without the nerves inside your teeth, you are still able to fully use your teeth to chew and bite without suffering any consequences. When your tooth’s nerves and pulp are damaged, it begins to break down and bacteria multiplies inside the pulp chamber. The bacteria can cause infection, which then begins to spread throughout the entire tooth. If the infection is severe enough, it can cause the loss of the entire tooth, which is why root canals are necessary. While the inside pulp and nerves of your tooth cannot be saved, the rest of your tooth can.
How does the procedure work?
First, we determine if a root canal is necessary. If so, we drill a hole in your tooth and remove the infected pulp and nerve tissue inside using special root canal files. Once all the pulp has been removed, we will seal your tooth, filling in the interior of your tooth with a compound that acts as a replacement for your tooth pulp. Finally, we finish with dental restorations, if your tooth has decayed enough for it to be necessary.