Definition of a Root Canal
In simple terms, a root canal is a procedure to remove the nerve and blood vessels that are inside the root of your tooth. The empty space left behind is thoroughly cleaned with special chemicals to kill off all bacteria. The space is then filled with a rubber filling material.
Root canals are needed for several reasons
You have a large cavity that is invading the internal blood vessels and nerve of the tooth, and there is a bacterial infection of those tissues. This may or may not hurt, and is diagnosed by looking at x-rays.
You have a tooth that is very painful because the nerve is dysfunctional–can be due to trauma, deep decay (see above), or, in some rare cases, there may not be a discernable cause.
You have a tooth that is “dead,” i.e. the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth are dead and necrotic, literally rotting away inside the tooth. Tooth may or may not be hurting. This dead material needs to be removed via root canal procedure, because if we leave it behind, you may develop a massive infection at some point which can be life threatening.
Modern Root Canals are Comfortable and Safe
Root canals are one of the longer procedures. We often schedule 1.5-2 hours, although sometimes it can be completed faster. In some rare cases we may choose to break the root canal up into several appointments. How long it takes depends on the anatomy of the tooth, and other factors like infection etc.
Due to advances in anesthesia and sedation, we are happy to say that root canals are no longer a painful procedure. In fact many of our patients report it being a pleasant, albeit, longer procedure. To find out if you need a root canal, contact Pure Dental Arts today.