Root Canal Therapy
Your dentist may try to save a badly decayed or damaged tooth by performing a root canal. The term root canal describes both the treatment and the part of the tooth.
Inside each tooth is a soft area known as the pulp chamber, which is part of the root canal. This is also where you find the tooth’s nerve. Root canal therapy involves removing the nerve and pulp, cleaning the inside of the tooth, and then sealing it.
Why Is a Root Canal Performed?
Damage to the nerve or pulp causes the tissues to break down. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria in the pulp chamber, which begin to grow and multiply.
Left untreated, infection spreads to the tooth’s root. This may cause an abscess, bone loss, and swelling throughout the area. It may even lead to drainage of the puss (from the abscess) through the gums and all the way to the skin.
How Does the Pulp Chamber Get Damaged?
What to Expect During a Root Canal Treatment
The first step of a root canal is taking x-rays of the area. The dentist is looking for signs of infection in the jawbone but also for the general shape of the tooth and root canal.
You likely only need a local anesthesia to numb the area. After that takes effect, Dr. Brannon dams the tooth to help keep it dry and drills a hole that allows him to access the pulp chamber. He removes the decayed nerve, pulp, and any remaining debris, occasionally flushing the area.
Dr. Brannon then seals the tooth. The type of seal and whether it’s permanent or temporary depends on your unique situation.
Most patients report that a root canal is no more painful than getting a filling. However, the area may feel tender over the next couple of days, depending on the extent of damage. This is particularly true if there was infection present.