A root canal may be necessary if your tooth has been so impacted by decay or injury that it can’t be fixed with a filling or other restorative measures. In some cases, the affected tooth can still be kept in the mouth if a root canal is performed. Root canal therapy allows you to keep your natural tooth and avoid getting a replacement. Over 15 million root canals are done every year . But what exactly happens to your tooth during a root canal procedure?
The Affected Tissue in Your Tooth Is Removed
Some patients who need root canal therapy have an infection inside their tooth, or extensive decay that’s compromised the inner tissue that supplies the tooth with blood and nutrients to keep it alive.
During a root canal, any tissue that’s been affected will be removed by your dentist or endodontist—a specialist at saving teeth. This tissue generally consists of nerves that may or may not be dead, and will be cleaned out from your tooth.
The removal of this material will prevent your tooth from being sensitive to temperature and, if your affected tooth is discolored, help restore its natural hue.
The Pulp Chamber Is Cleaned and Sealed
Once the affected tissue is removed, your dentist will carefully clean the inside of your tooth—sometimes called the pulp chamber—with special tools. This cleaning process will remove any bacteria and remaining microscopic tissue in your tooth that could contribute to future problems.
After the cleaning is done, your dentist or endodontist will dry and seal the canal to protect the tooth and ensure an infection can’t happen. The pulp chamber of the tooth is sealed with a biocompatible material, meaning your body will not react to it and it won’t cause any problems .
Your Tooth Is Capped Off With a Dental Restoration
Now that your tooth has been properly cleaned and sealed, you’ll need to have some type of restoration placed over your tooth to protect it from further trauma . Many patients will get a dental crown, which is a porcelain replication of your natural tooth, placed over the area. However, some patients will only need a filling material to keep the treated tooth protected.
Your dentist can let you know more about what you need during your consultation for root canal therapy!
Could a Root Canal Benefit Your Smile?
Root canal therapy can save a tooth that’s been impacted by decay or an injury, and for patients that have a single discolored tooth, a root canal can generally restore its color. If you’ve been told you need a root canal, don’t fret about this common procedure. Your root canal will be handled by an experienced dentist or endodontist to save your tooth!