Root Canal Therapy

Root canals are a protective treatment that helps prevent further damage to a tooth. Let’s look closer at the anatomy of a tooth so we can understand root canals a little better.

A tooth is made up of these parts:

1) Enamel, the hardest part of the tooth. This is the outer armor, so to speak, that protects against the bacteria and food particles that it comes into contact with on a daily basis.

2) Dentin. This part of the tooth lies directly underneath the enamel and contains living cells that strengthen and create more enamel.

3) Pulp. This is the inner structure of the tooth and consists of blood vessels and nerves.

4) Root. The root of a tooth is the anchoring part that extends into the jaw. The root also contains some vital parts. The root canal is the space in the tooth is where the nerves and blood vessels are housed.

Now that we understand a little more about the structure of the tooth, we can see how each tooth is a living thing. When the tooth is damaged enough, through decay or through trama, the pulp in the root canal can become infected or inflamed. This can create more problems down the road and the structure of the tooth could continue to deteriorate unless something is done. This is where the root canal procedure comes in.

How is a root canal performed?

First, Dr. Blackhurst will drill into the tooth to create an open access into the affected area. The diseased soft tissues of the tooth are then extracted to prevent further decay. After a thorough cleaning of the inside structures of the tooth, a sealant is used to fill the gaps and add some strength. Finally, the access point to the tooth is sealed as well, and these dental sealants are hardened oftentimes with a curing light.

Why does the pulp need to be removed?

The damaged pulp tissue in the tooth is very sensitive. When it becomes damaged and inflamed, bacteria begins to multiply and take over. The once healthy tissues can no longer fight back the infection, and it’s very easy for this infection to spread into other sensitive areas of the mouth. Oftentimes an untreated tooth will cause an abscess, which is a pocket of infection formed around the roots. This occurs when the infection leaves the inside of the tooth and spreads downward into the jaw area where the tooth is anchored. If left long enough, bone loss and other complications can occur.

Is a root canal painful?

Root canals have somewhat of a reputation for being painful, but that is not the case. These types of restorative treatments include the use of local anesthetics to block the nerves in the area. So after the first, little bit of pain to administer the anesthetic, you can lie back and not worry while Dr. Blackhurst takes care of your teeth.