The “root canal” is the hollow section of a tooth that contains the nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells, also known as the pulp. The pulp nourishes the tooth and provides moisture to its surroundings.
Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental treatment for removing infection from inside a tooth. It can also protect the tooth from future infections.
Root canal therapy is done in three steps, and it takes between one and three sessions to complete.
- Cleaning the root canal
- Filling the root canal
- Adding a protective filling
- Adding a lab made crown to help protect the tooth from further trauma.
How painful is it?One of the great fears about this kind of treatment is that it will be painful.
The pain that is felt comes from the infection and not from the treatment. The treatment does not cause pain; it helps to alleviate it.
Who needs it?Root canal therapy is treatment of an infected or injured pulp. If the pulp becomes injured or diseased, it cannot repair itself, and the tissue dies.
Some of the reasons the pulp may become injured or infected:
- Deep cavity
- A cracked tooth
- An old loose filling
- Severe trauma to the tooth
- Constant exposure to severe temperature changes
- A bite that is not aligned
- There may be pain when chewing, and some people have a continuous, throbbing pain.
- A bump on the gum
- Change in color of the gum around the tooth or the tooth itself
- A bad taste that does not go away
- Old leaking fillings
- Very large and deep decay
- Broken or cracked tooth
If the tooth cannot be saved, the next best option is to extract the tooth and place a dental implant.
What does it cost?The cost of dental treatment varies widely and is dependent on the type of therapy the tooth requires.
PreventionTo prevent infections, tooth decay, and gum disease, dentists recommend:
- brushing teeth last thing at bedtime and at least one other time each day
- using a suitable toothbrush and replacing it regularly
- attending regular dental checkups and cleanings
- flossing to clean between the teeth and prevent the buildup of plaque
- avoiding sugary drinks and foods
- following a healthy diet.