The tooth is essentially composed of three layers. There is the top enamel crown, underneath it there is the dentine and beneath the dentine lies the sensitive tooth pulp. The first to layers are very strong bone like composites. The tooth pulp is a fleshy area that contains the blood vessels and the nerves of the tooth.

 

The root canal itself is the space within the tooth that contains the pulp and its anatomical branches to the rest of the tooth. This portion of the tooth is very sensitive and exposure to surroundings can cause intense pain.

 

In some cases of tooth decay, the cavities can reach the root canal and expose it. This may result in bacterial infections of the root canal. Infections can occur due to other reasons as well in the area. In such a situation, a dentist will recommend a ‘root canal’. It is a treatment known officially as Endodontic therapy but more commonly referred to as root canal.

 

During the root canal the nerves and blood vessels in the pulp are removed and the tooth is cleaned and sealed from the inside. If this treatment is not performed, the surrounding tissue of the tooth may become seriously infected and form an abscess.

 

The nerve of a tooth is not a very important component for a tooth’s health and function. After a tooth has fully matured and emerged from the gums, the nerve does not have a very important role. The nerve only provides a sensory function to detect hot or cold and the tooth is completely fine if it is removed.

Common symptoms that may occur are:
• Severe toothache during chewing
• High sensitivity to hot or cold. The feeling may take time to subside even if the substance is removed
• Darkening of tooth (discoloration)
• Swelling of gums near the affected tooth
• Gums become tender and bleed easily while brushing
• Persistent or recurring pimple on gums


What’s the procedure?
The root canal treatment can be completed in a few visits to your dentist. In more serious cases of root canal, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist (a dentist that specializes in severe infections and treatment of the tooth pulp).

 

Whoever decides to do the therapy, they will first take an x-ray to see the shape of the root canal and infections in the surrounding bone. Once the dentist is clear of the structure of the problem, he will give you a local anaesthesia, place surgical enhancements around the tooth and drill an access hole into the tooth.

 

The infected pulp is removed from the inside using root canal files. The tooth is cleaned thoroughly using these files and a solution. The dentist may then place some medication, seal the tooth and isolate it using temporary filling.

 

On the next appointment the dentist will observe if the infection was thoroughly cleaned. If he is satisfied, a proper permanent filling will be done in the tooth.
The tooth may need additional dental procedures to restore it to full function. This may include placing a crown and other related work. Your dentist will discuss with you if additional work is needed.

 

 
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