What exactly is a root canal?
Root canals are tiny passageways that branch off from beneath the top of the tooth, coursing their way vertically downward, until they reach the tip of the root.
All teeth have between one and four root canals.
Rooth canal therapy is recommended when a tooth becomes infected and is a remarkable treatment with a very high success rate. It involves removing the diseased tissue, halting the spread of infection and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth. In fact, a root canal is designed to save a problem tooth. Before the procedure was developed and gained acceptance, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was an extraction.
If you were told you needed a root canal, the procedure usually entails one to two visits. During the first visit, a hole is drilled through the top of the tooth and into the inner chamber (the 'canal'). The diseased tissue is removed, the canal is cleansed and disinfected, and the tiny canals are reshaped. The cleansed chamber and canals are filled with an elastic material and medication designed to prevent infection. If necessary, the drilled hole is temporarily filled until a permanent seal is made with a crown.
Most patients who have root canals experience little or no discomfort or pain and go on to enjoy a restored tooth that can last almost as long as its healthy original state.