What is a Root Canal?
A tooth is composed of three elements: the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp.
- The enamel is the white part on the exterior of the tooth.
- The dentin is the hard layer under the enamel that gives the tooth its strength.
- The pulp is soft tissue under the dentin, composed by blood vessels and nerves. Its function is to “feed” the tooth while it’s growing so it achieves its adult state.
The pulp can get infected. The two main causes are bacteria and trauma. However, because the pulp is under the dentin, it may be hard to notice until the infection is advanced. When the infection reaches a certain point, it causes pain. If left untreated, the infection will eventually cause the loss of the tooth.
If the patient is an adult, the pulp isn’t needed anymore because the tooth has reached its maximum size already and it can be nourished by the tissue around it. The root canal (known technically as endodontic therapy or root canal therapy) is used to remove the pulp in order to eliminate the infection and avoid a total loss of the tooth.
Today, this process is done with anesthesia and modern instruments to eliminate pain. Once the dentist eliminates the pulp, he or she decontaminates the space or root canal and fills it with a material that prevents air bubbles from forming. This procedure is done from the top of the tooth and when it’s finished, the tooth requires reconstruction. This is when a crown is used.
To learn more or to book your root canal, please call or email the Contact Center today.