Every tooth consists of three different layers. The hardest layer around the tooth is Enamel, and the second layer below Enamel is Dentin. The third layer is the Pulp. The Pulp is the open space where living tissues and nerves of each tooth is located and a root canal will take place.
Root canal treatment (also referred to as Root Canal Therapy or Endodontic Therapy) is necessary when a cavity reaches all the way to the Pulp. (Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early). Sometimes deep trauma to a tooth may cause nerve damage requiring root canal therapy also. Once trauma or cavity spreading occurs, the pulp becomes infected and can grow through the root tip, eroding away surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. If the infected pulp is not treated,the infection will weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful.
Symptoms of the pulp becoming infected may include severe sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, severe pain, swelling, pain in biting or pressure, and a consistent bad taste in the mouth. Unfortunately, however, occasionally no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until an x-ray reveals the need for treatment. At Anderton Dental, we perform preventative x-rays to catch and prevent such problems every 6 months and upon request.
Root canal treatment is the process of going inside the pulp space and removing the infected, dead tissue. The space is then disinfected and sealed with special materials. Currently, root canal treatments are performed with advanced techniques and materials, making them far more comfortable and faster. After root canal treatment is complete, a crown is often recommended to safeguard against fracture.