Root canal treatment is a tooth-saving procedure. When a tooth is severely damaged and its interior structures are exposed to harmful bacteria and debris, the tooth, as a living structure, will die without professional treatment. Unlike other parts of the body such as a bone or ligament, a damaged tooth cannot self-heal, this is why receiving restorative and endodontic treatment from your dentist is a necessity to save a tooth.
The root canal is located inside the tooth. This chamber houses the nerve(s) and pulp, which contains vital cellular material. When a tooth is healthy, the root canal is sealed off from oral bacteria; however, if a tooth is significantly damaged, the root canal is exposed. Over time, an exposed root canal will become inflamed and infected. In many patients, common symptoms of an infected root canal include moderate to severe toothaches, facial pain, and headaches. Below are a few of the most common reasons your dentist will perform root canal therapy.
Traumatic injuries to the teeth can result in an unprotected root canal. For example, a deep crack in a tooth that extends below the tooth enamel and dentin often exposes a root canal to millions of oral bacteria present in the mouth. Traumas to the face from falling or contact sports may also cause enough damage to expose the nerves and pulp chamber.
Untreated tooth decay will ultimately reach the interior structures of teeth. Decay occurs when tooth enamel, the protective layer surrounding teeth, is damaged. Damaged enamel allows bacteria to eat through structures that are more sensitive. Eventually, the cavity will grow larger and ultimately reach the root canal where the nerve(s) and pulp become infected after exposure to bacteria.
With special, tiny dental tools, your dentist will gently enter the inside of your tooth and remove the infection. Once the damaged nerve and root canal has been thoroughly cleaned and removed, the inside of your tooth will be sealed to prevent further discomfort and damage.
To learn more about how root canals help save teeth or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.