A root canal is the most dreaded and feared procedure in dentistry, often famously cited as something you’d rather undergo than (insert very unpleasant activity). We’ve all heard of root canals, and we all hope we’ll never have to have one, but there’s no better place to go when you do need a root canal than the dentists at America’s Family Dental.
Although it’s certain you’ve heard of a root canal, do you know what a root canal is? A root canal is a procedure that becomes necessary when the soft tissue inside the tooth becomes infected or inflamed. This soft tissue, or pulp as it’s called, is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Pulp is necessary during tooth formation, but once you’re fully grown, your adult teeth don’t really need the pulp inside because they are sustained by the blood supply of the surrounding tissues and gums.
When a tooth gets infected or damaged, the nerves inside the tooth can send out pain signals, and as many people have experienced, the pain can become unbearable. In addition, infected pulp inside the tooth can cause decay from the inside of the tooth. This infection can be dangerous, even life threatening if left untreated.
A root canal procedure involves drilling a small hole in the crown of the tooth, then removing the pulp, disinfecting the internal surfaces of the tooth, and finally filling the pulp cavity with a material similar to rubber called gutta-percha. A temporary filling will be placed to seal the hole in the crown, then you will return at a later date to have a crown or other permanent restoration placed over the tooth to protect it and ensure permanent full-function of your tooth that will last a lifetime with proper care.
Despite the fears we all have about a pending root canal, today the procedure when performed by highly skilled dentists is practically painless. Many of our patients tell us after we’ve performed their root canal that they now realize they never need to fear going to the dentist again!