As we discussed in our last blog, root canals were developed to save your teeth. Before root canals and dental fillings, tooth extraction was the only option, and if the tooth was so infected with decay that even a filling wouldn’t do, extraction was the only choice. Over the years, the importance of retaining your natural teeth came to light and root canals were developed as an option to tooth extraction. Of course, the idea of a root canal can cause nightmares for some people, but with anesthesia, a root canal isn’t any more uncomfortable than a dental filling, and because they save your teeth, they are actually a good thing!
How Root Canal Therapy is Performed
Root canal therapy is similar to getting a dental filling, only it has a couple more steps:
Step #1: First your dentist will anesthetize the area.
Step #2: Then your dentist will drill a tiny access hole into your tooth from which he or she will remove the infected pulp.
Step #3: The empty pulp chamber and root canal will be cleaned and disinfected.
Step #4: The empty pulp chamber and root canal will then be filled with a biocompatible, rubber-like material called gutta percha.
Step #5: The access hole will be filled with a dental filling.
Step #6: If necessary, your dentist will crown the tooth for extra support and protection.
Your Tooth Pulp
The pulp of your tooth is the only living part of your teeth and consists of blood vessels, live tissue, and nerves, and can be extremely painful when infected. However, root canals are possible because the dentin and enamel which make up the non-living part of your tooth can still function without the pulp.