Where Is Your Tooth Root And Why Does It Need A Canal?

Root canals are a common dental procedure used to stop pain and/or an ongoing infection. Despite the prevalence of the procedure, many people don't know what a root canal actually does. The name of the procedure doesn't help the confusion as it seems to indicate that a canal will be dug into your tooth root, which isn't true. So what is the real deal behind root canals?

Understanding Your Tooth

The part of your tooth that you can see and touch is called the crown. It's covered by a protective coating called enamel that helps prevent damage to the crown. Inside the crown and enamel is dentin, a bony, hard tissue. Below the dentin are a series of structures that together make up what's called the root. The most important of these structures is the pulp, which is made up of connective tissue and blood cells that helped grow the tooth in the first place. The pulp sits in a chamber but also travels down through root canals to access the length of the tooth.

It's the pulp that can cause potential problem and the need for a root canal.

Why Get a Root Canal?

Sometimes that pulp can become infected, which can cause pain in the area surrounding the tooth and also risks spreading an infection to the rest of your mouth. Luckily, the pulp is no longer a vital part of an adult tooth once it has fully grown in. And that's where a root canal comes into play.

An endodontics specialist, who focuses on the interior of the teeth, will remove the crown and scrape out all the pulp that's inside the tooth. The root canal is then cleaned well and disinfected before a new pulp replacement filling is injected into the canal. The dentist will then replace the top of the tooth with either a new crown or an enamel-like filling. The procedure is much easier than it sounds and requires relatively little time in the chair. If you've ever undergone an ordinary dental filling, a root canal shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable or cause you any additional pain.

Despite the scary-sounding name, root canals are a routine procedure that can ease your pain and potentially save your tooth from needing an infection-related extraction. Saving your natural tooth has a variety of benefits including better bite alignment, solid support for neighboring teeth and looking better cosmetically. Talk to professionals like Washington Township Dental Associates to learn more about these procedures.