What is a Root Canal?
A tooth has two basic parts, the crown and the roots. The crown is mainly above the gum, and the roots, which attach your tooth to your jawbone, are below. Inside the tooth is a hollow area, called the root canal.
The root canal contains a substance called pulp, which is a network of nerves and blood vessels that nourish the tooth, and sensing extreme temperatures and pressure on the tooth.
If the pulp becomes injured or diseased, it dies. This can happen because of a deep cavity or damage to the tooth. Bacteria get in through a crack or cavity and cause infection. Eventually the tooth becomes loose, the tissue around it swells and abscesses may form beneath the tooth.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. Root canal therapy removes the nerve and pulp from the root canal, cleans the canal and seals it. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth is prone to further infection and abscesses may form.
If properly performed, and under normal circumstances, a root canal-treated tooth can last you a lifetime.
Symptoms of the need for Root Canal Therapy
- Moderate to severe lingering toothache, which may be throbbing, when having hot or cold foods.
- Toothache pain so intense it wakes you up at night.
- Pain when chewing or biting.
- Swelling on your gum which when pressed may release blood or pus.
- Pain that starts in one tooth and spreads to other regions of the jaw or head e.g. an infected lower molar (back tooth) may cause you to feel pain in the ear!