Root canal treatment is otherwise called endodontic therapy. This type of treatment is performed in order to clear an infection found inside the pulp chamber or at the apex of the root. This aims at prevention of the further spread of infection and allows the patient to keep his or her tooth in place.
The Anatomy of the Tooth
Before we discuss endodontic treatment, it would be best to give you an overview of the anatomy of the tooth. To start, there are two major parts:
- The crown is the topmost part that we use to cut and masticate our food.
- The root or roots, for posterior teeth, anchor it to the alveolar socket. This keeps it in place.
The Layers of The Tooth
- This is the tough outer coating. This is resilient and is 96% mineralized. Only 4% of it is made from organic matter. Thus, it withstands relatively large amounts of pressure.
- This layer is found under the enamel in the crown area. It is more organic and softer. Dentin is yellowish in appearance. It is 70% percent inorganic, 20% organic and the remaining 10% is composed of water.
- This layer coats the pulp chamber in the root area and is a bit softer than dentin, as it is composed of 45 to 50% inorganic matter. It is light yellow and contains the highest amount of fluoride. Cementum is continuously formed throughout the lifespan of the tooth. This is to ensure that its bond with the dentin layer remains intact.
- The dental pulp is the innermost part. It is stored in the pulp chamber. It is composed of soft tissue. It also has a network of blood vessels and nerves. Thus, it enables the tooth to “feel” each bite, changes in temperature and even sensitivity or pain.
The Dental Pulp And Endodontics
Once the dental pulp is exposed or injured, be it by blunt force or infection, root canal treatment is necessary to keep the tooth in place. The pulp cannot repair itself from damage and thus, significant insult can cause it to become non-vital. Bacteria may enter the pulp chamber via minute cracks or fractures, cavities and even loose fillings. Once the microorganisms have entered, they may spread to the bone and cause greater damage. That is why root canal therapy is essential.
The Patient And Root Canal Injury
People who have root canal infections will notice an increase sensitivity to hot and/or cold temperatures. They may even experience localized pain when chewing. At times, a throbbing ache may also be felt.
If you or your loved one has or is experiencing these symptoms right now, it would be best to schedule an appointment with a dentist who can perform the necessary measures to prevent tooth loss.
What Happens During Root Canal Treatment?
The dentist will start by asking you important questions to determine if this treatment is required. He or she may also ask you if you have any medical conditions to ensure that you are fit enough to receive proper treatment. X-rays will be taken to check the extent of the damage.
During the procedure, the contents of the pulp chamber are removed completely. If any particles are left in the canal, the infection will not be resolved. It may even worsen. Keep in mind that anesthetic will be provided to prevent any discomfort. Once the contents of the canal are extirpated, it is filled with cement and gutta percha. If it were left hollow, it would easily break because after the procedure, the tooth is considered dead.
Make sure you have this procedure done by someone who is well-experienced in this field of dentistry, especially if it is a posterior tooth. If the dentist is unable to extirpate the contents of every root, the infection may spread to the bone and surrounding soft tissues. Doctor Scott Laudon offers this service and if you are in need of a root canal, give the office a call at (907) 562-4774
When picking a dentist for root canal treatment, it is important to consider his or her skill and expertise, as this is a delicate procedure. The professionals at Alcan Dental Group in Anchorage are your best bet because they have years of training and experience. Trust your dental concerns to the experts.