Ask the average person whether he or she has heard of a root canal, and the chances are very good that he or she will answer, “of course.” Ask that same person to explain what a root canal is, however, and the chances are equally good that he or she will be way off the mark. Contrary to what many believe, a root canal is not a restorative dentistry procedure, let alone the painful procedure that it has long been reputed to be. Rather, it is an anatomical structure that resides within a tooth. Each tooth can contain up to four root canals, in fact.
The procedure in which infected or inflamed dental pulp is removed from a root canal is actually called root canal therapy, and, despite its reputation, it is actually a relatively painless procedure. Indeed, root canal therapy at the Freehold, NJ dental practice of Dennis G. Sternberg, D.D.S. is used to alleviate intense tooth pain. Patients generally emerge from the procedure feeling significantly better after the source of their excruciating, throbbing toothaches has been permanently addressed.
If you are experiencing an ache in your tooth, there is no need to continue down your painful path. Root canal therapy can alleviate your pain while allowing you to preserve as much of your healthy tooth structure as possible and to restore form and function to your mouth.
What is a root canal - the anatomical structure?
The root canal is a chamber that contains a substance called dental pulp. This pulp comprises nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues and supplies the tooth with nutrients that are essential to its survival. When a tooth is intact, its root canals are shielded from the outside elements and the fragile dental pulp within is protected from contamination. However, when the structural integrity of a tooth is compromised, whether by decay, disease, or trauma, the root canals can be breached. As a result, the dental pulp can become inflamed or infected, which in turn can cause extreme pain.
What is root canal therapy?
When the dental pulp is damaged, it must be removed. If it is not removed, the pain will continue until the tooth eventually dies and falls out. However, root canal therapy effectively relieves the pain and salvages the tooth through the removal of the pulp and the subsequent sealing off of the remainder of the tooth.
Root canal therapy consists of the following steps:
- After the area is numbed, a passage is created in the crown of the tooth.
- The diseased pulp is removed through this passage.
- The root canal is thoroughly cleansed and disinfected.
- A filler substance is used to replace the dental pulp.
- The passage is sealed.
- The remaining tooth structure is covered using a temporary dental crown.
- The patient returns for his or her permanent dental crown at a later appointment. This custom-crafted crown blends beautifully into his or her smile while preserving the integrity of the natural tooth.
Learn More about Root Canal Therapy
To learn more about root canal therapy, please contact the cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry practice of Dr. Dennis G. Sternberg today.