Understanding the anatomy of a tooth is vital to understanding the process of a root canal. The portion of the tooth that is commonly seen above the gums is known as the crown. Beneath this, the tooth attaches to the gums and bones through what is known as the root.
Beneath the hard layers of enamel and dentin which cover the crown and roots is a soft tissue known as the pulp. This contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues which provide nourishment as the tooth grows. A fully developed tooth can function properly even without the pulp. A root canal removes this portion to save the tooth.
The pulp within a root can become inflamed or infected when tooth decay reaches the root. This can also happen when extensive restoration involving the root takes place. Cracking of the crown from trauma, severe gum disease and wearing out of enamel and dentin can also trigger problems.
Inflammation and infection of the pulp results in pain, prolonged tooth sensitivity, swelling in the gums, tenderness in the surrounding area, discoloration and a bad taste in the mouth.
Rather than extracting the entire tooth, a root canal may be done to remove the infected or inflamed portion while saving the tooth. The tooth no longer has vital tissues but remains intact due to the vital tissues around it. This is an option for those who do not want permanent teeth removed or replaced by implants or dentures.
During the process of a root canal treatment, an anesthetic is applied to numb the affected area. It is then cleaned out through an opening at the crown of the tooth. The remaining area from which the infected pulp is removed is also disinfected to prevent the reoccurrence of infections.
Once the area has been cleaned and disinfected, the empty canals are then filled and sealed. A permanent filling or a crown may be used to restore the tooth depending on how badly damaged it is.
A tooth that has undergone root canal treatment is able to function normally like all your other teeth. There is no special treatment needed to maintain the tooth. Regular and proper oral care is sufficient to keep the tooth healthy.
Call All Dental Group, your dentist in Miami Lakes, Florida, if you think you may require a root canal treatment. You can reach us at (786) 724-0268 to make an appointment.