About To Have Your First Root Canal?
Most people find themselves asking the question, “what is a root canal?” when their San Antonio Family Dentist diagnoses them with the symptoms that call for the procedure. The root canal is a canal treatment that is used to treat an infection or decay of the pulp that exists in the interior of the pulp chamber and the associated root canal in the tooth.
For a person’s oral health and to relieve tooth pains that come from decay around the nerves of a tooth, a dentist or endodontist will perform a root canal. This article will answer the question “what is a root canal?” by explaining the purpose for the procedure and the root canal procedure itself.
Why Is a Root Canal Performed?
Many people wonder what is a root canal, as far as its purpose as a dental treatment. When a tooth is formed it is the pulp in the center that connects to the surrounding tissue and carries the nutrients needed through the tooth. Interestingly enough the tooth pulp becomes unnecessary once the tooth has fully formed and can actually gather nutrients on its own.
Through the life of the tooth, due to a crack in the tooth, cavities, or pulp injury, the pulp may become infected or inflamed. Whatever the reason, if such decay or disease goes untreated then the situation can compound and lead to worse symptoms, namely an abscess beneath the tooth. A person can tell that they might be in need of a root canal procedure when they find that a tooth is extremely sensitive or perhaps is dark and discolored. When pain is discovered, the best thing to do is go to a dentist for further diagnosis.
How Does One Perform a Root Canal?
For a person who has never had a root canal, it can be daunting to imagine what is a root canal procedure? The good news is root canals are pretty straightforward.
The dentist or endodontist recommended by the dentist will perform preliminary x-rays upon the tooth. These are essential so that it can be determined how badly the infection or decay has gotten and if the condition is still contained in the root canal or if it has spread to the jaw. If the infection of the pulp has spread or abscessed in the jaw, the root canal procedure can be much more extensive.
A rubber dam is placed around the crown of the tooth; this thin piece of rubber keeps debris and saliva from interfering with the canal procedure. The tooth and surrounding area are numbed with local anesthesia and then a hole is bored in the crown of the tooth. Through this hole the infected pulp and nerves are removed. This is the simplest definition of a root canal procedure, removing the dental pulp. Special dental instruments are used to literally scoop out and then carefully sand away all the pulp that is contained in the pulp chamber and root canal.
When the pulp is removed entirely, the endodontist might decide to treat the infection if it has spread down through the teeth and into the jaw and surrounding connective tissues. A medication will be applied and a temporary filling will be placed to close the hole in the crown of the tooth. If there is no need to treat with antiseptic medications, the tooth will be prepped for the proper sealants and cosmetic treatments.
A paste that fills the tooth, providing durability and sealing it up against infection, is then put in. Occasionally a small metal post is also placed within the root canal to provide structural soundness. Then the hole is closed with a dental filling and, depending upon the tooth and dentist, a crown or other cosmetic covering can be used to give the tooth a pleasant appearance.
What is a Root Canal Like? Is there pain?
One of the longest perpetuated myths about a root canal is that the procedure causes pain. The point of a root canal is to relieve the pain that abscess or infection has been causing an individual. Decaying pulp does not support nerve ends and can cause increased sensitivity. Infection and abscess can damage nerves and spread to surrounding tissues. The root canal literally removes any nerves in the tooth, and without nerves, a person cannot feel the pain that might be caused.
In short, the answer to “what is a root canal?” goes something like this: A root canal is a treatment that removes infection and decay from teeth and restores health and wellbeing