What is a Root Canal Anyway?

Image-courtesy-of-patrisyu-at-FreeDigitalPhotos.net_-300x200Generally when people hear about canals, they either think of the romantic canals of Venice or the industrial miracles of the Panama Canal and such.

They don’t think about their teeth. Nor do they want to!

But a root canal can be a lifeboat for a tooth, saving an otherwise sinking ship.

What is the root canal? 

You hear people say, “I have to get a root canal.” But really, everyone already has root canals in every tooth.

If you want to talk anatomy, and, really, who doesn’t, the root canal is the chamber inside the root of the tooth. It is made up of the pulp chamber, the main canals, and smaller canals that branch out to connect the main canals. The chambers are hollow spaces that run through the center of the roots. This is where all the soft tissue of the tooth can be found: the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. When put together, this stuff is the pulp of the tooth and is responsible for nourishment and sensory response of the tooth.

What is root canal therapy?

OK, the bad stuff happens when a tooth is cracked or chipped, or has extensive decay so that the pulp inside the tooth is exposed. Once decay enters the tooth it creates an infection in the pulp and it becomes inflamed. This is where the serious pain comes from when biting, eating, and drinking hot or cold drinks and the like.

And this is when root canal therapy is needed to save the infected tooth. Otherwise, it will go the way of the Dodo and will die and need to be extracted.

Root canal therapy, in a nutshell, involves drilling a hole in the top of the tooth; taking endodontic files to dig out and remove the infected blood vessels, nerves, and other tissue; sterilizing and filling it back up with gutta-percha, a rubber-based material; sealing the hole with a filling; and then putting a crown on top of the rebuilt tooth.

Are you having pain when biting and at other times? Give us a call at Gentle Dental and let’s have a look, and if necessary, provide root canal therapy to save your tooth. Call us, (732) 549-5660.

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