Root Canals Explained

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Root Canals Explained

Sierra Oaks Dental Group | Sacramento California | Sacramento Dentist

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What’s a Root Canal?

Root canals are performed when a tooth has become infected or has extensive decay.  The procedure removes nerve and pulp from inside the tooth. Once removed it is then cleaned and sealed.  If a root canal is diagnosed as necessary and goes untreated then the infection in the tooth will grow leading to more complications.  In terms of restorative care, a root canal is option number three after a patient has been diagnosed for treatment of a filling and crown.

The term, “Root Canal”, comes from the cleaning of the pulp canal or chamber in the center of the tooth.  The pulp is critical to the growth of our teeth when we are young, but as we age and our teeth are at their most mature size the pulp is no longer a necessary tissue in the tooth.  Same goes for the nerve, which exists in the pulp chamber of each tooth. Once the adult tooth has emerged through the gum tissue the nerve and pulp are not necessary to the tooth’s health.

Removal Of The Pulp During Root Canal

Bacteria grows exponentially within the pulp chamber when a tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged.  This bacterial growth can lead to infection or an abscessed tooth. A tooth abscess is a pus-filled pocket, similar to a hardened blister, that forms at the bottom of the roots at the base of the tooth.

Additionally, an infection in a root canal or pulp chamber can cause…

  • Embed Asset Override
  • Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
  • Bone loss around the tip of the root
  • Drainage issues from the root.  A hole can form in the side of the tooth draining bacteria into the gums and into the dermal layer (skin).

What Causes Damage To The Nerve and Pulp?

Tooth decay that goes untreated and unchecked can lead to damage of the nerve and pulp.  Also, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth can also cause nerve and pulp damage.

What Happens If A Root Canal Fails?

If infection continues after a root canal treatment then the tooth must be extracted to stop the infection.  Once the infection is controlled and extinguished a dentist will provide an implant or a prosthetic know as a bridge.  There are many variations of bridges depending on the patient’s needs, and each case offers unique challenges.

Tooth-Decay-and-Treatment-Infographic from Sierra Oaks Dental Group | Sacramento Dentist

Root Canals Seem Scary!

Root canal procedures have come a long way over the years.  With the advancements in localized anesthesia the treatment does not require any pain medications of any kind.  Also, in most cases the nerve in the tooth is already dead from the infection so there’s no feeling.

All of our dentists perform root canals, and for highly complex cases we have specialty offices that we can refer you to that share in our practice’s values.