Don’t be horrified by stories you’ve heard about root canals. Root canals are your friend! A root canal is a procedure that is done to remove the nerve from the inside of a tooth. This is done when the nerve of the tooth has been compromised and is generally a great option to save a natural tooth. When done correctly, you will get to save your tooth and while not having to worry about follow up pain.
There are three main layers to a tooth:
- The outer layer called enamel
- The middle layer called dentin
- The very inside of the tooth exists nerves and blood vessels called the pulp, AKA nerve.
It is very important that the pulp of the tooth remains healthy and free of bacteria for normal functioning, as well as to prevent discomfort or a dental infection.
The pulp can become compromised in multiple ways, such as:
- Deep cavity
- Tooth crack or fracture
- Extensive dental procedures on a tooth
- Severe gum infection that can travel underneath the tooth and enter through the root.
What does the procedure consist of?
A root canal is lengthy procedure, sometimes taking multiple appointments.
During a root canal you will be numb, all the decay and nerve will be removed from the tooth. Once the pulp is thoroughly cleaned and shaped, it is then filled with a “fake nerve” to seal the space where the natural nerve was.
Afterwards, the missing tooth structure will be filled, and it’s often recommended to have a crown to put over the remaining tooth.
It’s important to follow up with a crown after a root canal because once the root canal is completed, the tooth structure becomes more brittle and prone to breaking since it is no longer receiving blood supply and nutrients from the body.