At the core of the tooth is soft tissue (otherwise known as pulp). The hollow area that houses this soft tissue contains a space towards the top of the tooth called the pulp chamber. This pulp chamber is connected to the root of the tooth via pipe-like canals, giving rise to the term root canal. The blood vessels in these canals provide nutrition to the tooth. Occasionally, the internal soft tissue of the tooth becomes infected and can result in a serious infection if left untreated. Root canal treatment should take place before the infection gets too serious.
Technically root canal is not the name of the procedure but refers instead simply to the thin tubes that connect the pulp chamber and the tip of the tooth’s root. In fact, the procedure that laymen refer to as a root canal is actually known as a pulpectomy to dentists. A pulpectomy is an endodontic treatment to cure an infected root canal. In the old days, damage to the core of a tooth usually meant it had to be removed. Today, however, a root canal procedure (or pulpectomy) disinfects and refills the inside of the tooth, thus preventing pain and limiting damage to the tooth.
Some indications of the need for root canal treatment may be:
Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting.
Sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
Severe decay or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone.
The Root Canal Treatment Procedure
The tooth is first anesthetized then a hole is made down into the pulp. Dr. Bordia uses tiny instruments to extract the remaining pulp from the tooth, thoroughly disinfecting the tooth canal in the process. Once disinfected, the interior of the tooth is filled with an inert material that helps prevent further infection.