It is necessary for a patient to receive root canal therapy when their tooth has been badly decayed or infected. It becomes infected when the bacteria breaks down the nerve tissue and begins to multiply inside of the pulp chamber. The nerve or the pulp (vascularized connective tissue) in the tooth is located in the root canal or the inner chamber which is a passageway that is located beneath the top of the tooth and runs all the way to the root of the tooth.
When the nerve or the pulp becomes damaged or infected due to decay, large fillings, or trauma, the tooth's pulp or nerve needs to be removed. It needs to be removed otherwise it might cause more problems. The infection and swelling can spread to other areas near the tooth such as the face or neck. The tip of the root is at risk of loosing bone tissue if the infection is not taken care of. If you have a severe toothache when you bite, prolonged sensitivity, tenderness in the gums, or if the tooth becomes darker, you will potentially need root canal therapy.
The root canal process starts with x-rays so that the dentist is able to see how the inside of the tooth is formed and where the actual infection is located. Local anesthesia is used to numb the surrounding area and a tiny hole is drilled into the tooth. When the hole is drilled, the dentist removes the infected pulp and nerve tissue as well as cleans the bacteria and other debris that might be in there. After everything is removed, the dentist will put medication in the tooth if it is necessary and then seals the hole.
It is said that root canals are a very painful procedure, but most people do not feel any more pain or discomfort compared to other small dental procedures. The pain that an infected tooth is far worse and lasts a lot longer than the actual root canal procedure.
Definitions related to Root Canal
Pulp: vascularized connective tissue
Pulp Chamber: the area inside of the tooth where the nerve tissue is located
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