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A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected.
Root canal procedures are performed when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected or the pulp becomes damaged. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.
Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. Actually, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed. Especially here at Serenity Smile Designs: Cosmetic, Implant, & General Dentistry, we cater to cowards! The discomfort experienced in the period leading up to a seeking of dental care is truly the painful period of time, not the root canal procedure itself.
The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the center of the tooth. The tooth’s nerve lies within root canals, which lie within the roots or “legs” of the tooth. The root canals travel from the tip of the tooth’s root into the pulp chamber, which also contains blood vessels and connective tissue that nourish the tooth.
A tooth’s nerve is not vitally important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory — to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.
When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:
A tooth’s nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.
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