Root canal therapy (also known as root canal treatment, a pulpectomy, endodontic treatment or simply, a root canal) involves the cleaning out and refilling of the root canal.
The tooth can be broken down into two sections:● The crown is the visible portion of the tooth and is made of a tough enamel exterior and a dentine interior.● The root contains one or more canals that are filled with pulp tissue. This tissue or pulp is made up of nerves and blood vessels. The nerves are responsible for sending stimuli to the brain and the blood vessels provide the nutrients necessary for the construction and maintenance of healthy teeth.
Cleaning Out the Canal
Alleviating the pain and saving the tooth requires the removal of any infected pulp tissue and the cleaning and subsequent disinfection of the canal. To do this, Dr. Clark will make a small hole in the crown of the tooth to provide access to the canal(s). A very fine file-like instrument is then used to clean the pulp out of the root and enlarge the canal. Irrigating solutions make sure that none of the infected material remains inside.
Filling the Canal
The clean and disinfected opening is then filled with a durable and biocompatible material (meaning it is non-toxic and promotes the recovery of healthy tissue), which seals off the root canal.
Covering the Canal
At this point, all that remains is to restore the tooth with some form of cap. Depending on the strength and amount of remaining tooth, Dr. Clark may recommend a filling or a crown. If the remaining portion of the tooth is too weak to support a crown safely, metal posts can be inserted, which enhance the integrity of the tooth.