Getting to the Root of It: Root Canals

Getting to the Root of It: Root Canals

Your teeth are composed of three main layers: the enamel, the dentin, and pulp. The pulp is the innermost layer of a tooth that houses all of the tooth’s blood vessels, nerves, and other soft tissues. In more severe cases of tooth decay or trauma, infections may spread down to the pulp. For this reason, dentists perform root canal procedures to prevent infection and inflammation from causing further damage and restoring the tooth back to normal health.

The Root Canal Procedure

A root canal procedure—also known as a pulpectomy in medical terms—is a standard, restorative treatment used to thoroughly clean and seal the inside of your tooth. The procedure is fairly simple and does not take long to complete. First, the root canal specialist will remove the infected tissue from the pulp chamber. Next, the chamber is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Finally, a special dental filling material is used to seal the inside of the tooth. The dentist will place a protective dental crown, or “cap,” over the weakened tooth after the procedure, to prevent fractures and reinfection. The crown will also allow you to use the tooth for normal function such as chewing, eating, and speaking.

Benefits of Root Canal Treatments

Root canal treatments offer many benefits to the patient, including:

  • Eliminates infection from inside the tooth.
  • Prevents infection from spreading to other nearby teeth and gums.
  • Restores a weakened tooth back to normal function.

While a root canal treatment can help restore a tooth suffering from severe decay and infection, the best form of treatment is prevention. Practicing good dental habits at home such as regular brushing and flossing, and visiting our office every six months for a routine exam and cleaning, can save your tooth in the long run!