A root canal – formally called endodontic treatment – treats the inside of the tooth. A root canal becomes necessary when the nerve becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can be caused by many things: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause nerve damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
How does a root canal save the tooth?
During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha” is used to fill and seal the roots of the tooth. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection and can continue to function like any other tooth.
Contrary to jokes about the matter, modern root canal treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two visits. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
* Efficient chewing
* Normal biting force and sensation
* Natural appearance
* Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain
Root canal treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth and often for a lifetime.