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What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that involves the treatment of a tooth that has been badly damaged by decay, or been chipped or cracked to the point where the decay has reached the soft inner pulp of the tooth. It is possible to save the tooth from removal with a root canal procedure, which we’ll discuss in this week’s blog.


What is a Root Canal?

Over time, decay can eat away at your teeth. It starts with the hard outer shell of enamel, and works its way through the dentin layer down to the soft pulp, which covers the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth. These nerves and blood vessels supply nutrients to your tooth when it first comes in, but after that point the tooth can function without them, getting nutrients from nearby tissue instead. This fact is what makes a root canal possible.

When decay gets this far down, your tooth will become extremely sensitive. Not only that, but it allows bacteria and food debris to enter the pulp chamber and cause an infection. This infection can spread to the roots of the tooth, and even beyond the tooth to other areas of the mouth, face, neck or head. It can result in bone loss around the root’s tip and drainage problems from the root, all of which are very painful. This is where the pain associated with a root canal comes from. The procedure itself is actually relatively mild in terms of pain, but the pain leading up to the procedure as a result of decay and infections can be very intense.

The Procedure

During a root canal procedure, the dentist clears away decay and removes the pulp and nerves in the tooth. Once these are removed, the root canals of the tooth are cleaned and shaped. Next, the root canal and pulp chamber are filled with a filling material. The dentist may also put a small metal or plastic rod in the filling chamber to stabilize the material and support the crown which will go on top of the tooth. The crown is placed on top of the tooth over the decayed area which was removed, and sealed off so no more bacteria or debris can enter the tooth. The tooth continues to function normally, and the pain of decay and infection is abated.

what is a root canal

About Olney Dental

Olney Dental has been providing comprehensive dental care for residents of Olney and the surrounding area since 1985. We’re conveniently located on the campus of Montgomery General Hospital, and provide care for all ages for children to adults and seniors. We’re also independently owned by our dentists, which allows us be patient driven in our approach to dentistry. Your smiles make us smile! You can also connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and YouTube.


This entry was posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.