Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, is the treatment that treats the inner pulp of a tooth. This pulp tissue contains the nerve of the tooth, blood vessels, lymph vessels and connective tissue. The pulp is contained in the pulp chamber and the roots of the tooth. The pulp chamber is located above the gumline whereas the root canals are located below the gumline, or in the tooth roots. Root canal treatments play an essential role in modern dentistry. They can save teeth that have been severely damaged or decayed which may have otherwise needed to be extracted.
The nerve in the tooth provides sensory function, but not in the same way that many other nerves throughout the body do. For example, if you press against your tooth, the pressure you feel comes not from the nerve inside your tooth but from the nerves surrounding your tooth. The nerve in your tooth may, however, signal when something is wrong. If there is tooth decay, a crack, or a break in your tooth, you may experience a sharp or throbbing pain.
This pain shows the nerve inside the tooth is inflamed, infected or even dying. Your dentist may perform tests to determine the type and extent of the problem and the best way of managing the tooth. A root canal treatment can resolve many of these issues. Your dentist will remove the damaged pulp, clean out the bacteria and organic debris, treat any active infection and seal your tooth against further contamination.
If the tooth is not treated, the pain may continue, and toxins from the infection or inflammation could continue to leak out of the tooth and into surrounding tissues, creating an unhealthy environment for neighboring teeth and increasing the risk for tooth and bone loss. The body's immune system cannot appropriately fight against an infection located in the pulp of a tooth, and an abscessed tooth may develop.
Root canal treatments have gotten a bad reputation over the years, and many patients experience anxiety over the idea of needing root canal treatments. In reality, modern dentistry has made the treatment quite comfortable. The administration of anesthetics ensures that individuals will feel no pain during the treatment. If you have an active infection, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to control the infection before the treatment, and your tooth may feel more sensitive or tender after the treatment.
Once the pulp has been cleaned out and the tooth disinfected, your dentist will place a temporary or permanent filling or a dental crown to restore your tooth. This final step in the root canal treatment procedure ensures the tooth is protected against re-infection, and it strengthens it against future damage.
Visit WilshireDentalCare.com, Los Angeles dentist office to learn more. Our Los Angeles endodontist and root canal treatment specialist can help you as well.