The Fono

Health & Social Services

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Root Canal

Inside the tooth is a fine space called the root canal. The root canal contains the dental pulp which consists of nerves and blood vessels. If the dental pulp becomes diseased or dies a toothache or an abscess may occur. In the past these problem teeth were extracted but now your dentist can offer you root canal treatment to care for these teeth.

Decay and Infection

If your tooth's nerve chamber becomes infected by decay or damaged by trauma, root canal treatment is often the only way to save your tooth.

The Nerve Chamber

The hard outer shell of each tooth contains a specialized area called the pulp or nerve chamber inside. The pulp chamber contains a system of blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves-known as the pulp-which enter from the bone through the root canals. This system provides nourishment for the cells within the tooth.

Root Canal

Deep tooth decay or other injury can cause damage to or infection of the tooth pulp. In a root canal, or endodontic treatment, the dentist removes the damaged or infected pulp and replaces it with a special filler, which helps maintain the remaining tooth structure.

Some indications of the need for root canal treatment may be:

  • Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
  • Severe decay or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone

The Procedure

A root canal is completed in five steps:

  1. After the tooth is anesthetized, an opening is made through the crown into the pulp chamber
  2. The length of the root canals are determined
  3. Unhealthy pulp is removed, canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped
  4. Canals are then filled and sealed. A metal post may be added for structural support or to retain restorative materials
  5. The tooth is sealed with a temporary filling. Usually a gold or porcelain crown adds further protection

The material used to fill your root canal will probably last you a lifetime, but there is a chance that the filling or crown may need to be replaced eventually.

 

Make an appointment

Click here to watch an educational video on Root Canals

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