Root Canal Treatment Explained

The term “root canal” is fraught with anxiety, avoidance and a sudden drop in blood pressure. A patient may experience denial and wonder what might happen if the root canal treatment was put off for a month, a couple of years or perhaps forever. Dentists work hard to dispel the myths that have grown up around the root canal; in an attempt to further their efforts, here are some details of a root canal treatment explained.

What is a Root Canal Treatment?

Within dentistry, a root canal treatment is referred to as endodontic therapy. Behind this clinical term hides the treatment of an injured tooth, which may have already fallen victim to a bacterial infection. During the treatment the infection is eradicated, the interior of the tooth is removed and replaced with an artificial substance and finally the opening is capped to prevent further bacteria from invading. After the root canal treatment is finished, the tooth remains in place but is no longer “alive.”

Why Undergo Endodontic Therapy?

Dental patients with a cracked or decaying tooth may find that root canal therapy is a last resort treatment to prevent actual tooth loss. A faithful patient who visits the dentist twice a year for proper cleaning and also minor maintenance, oftentimes can get away with a regular filling because the crack is caught sufficiently early. In cases when there is an infection within the pulp of the tooth that is so far progressed that it already affects the roots, endodontic therapy is a last ditch effort at saving the tooth by hollowing it out, removing the bacteria and inserting a filling and cap.

Nuts and Bolts of a Root Canal Treatment

When it comes to seeing the nuts and bolts of a root canal treatment explained, patients focus in on the drill and the pain associated with nerve removal. What is missed – and just as important – are the methods that seek to ensure the patients’ comfort and overall well being. For example, prior to treating a tooth with endodontic therapy, a dentist may seek to relieve the pain the patient most likely is already experiencing. Sometimes this is as simple as opening and draining an abscess.

The patient will receive painkillers and also antibiotics. After a week, the patient returns to the dentist and all of the internal pulp is extracted, the interior is disinfected, and eventually filled with gutta percha, which is a rubber compound. This is then topped with a crown which protects the filling and also seals out any further bacteria that might seek to re-infect the tooth and the gums.

What If I Don’t Want A Root Canal?

Patients, who decide that they do not want to have the procedure even after the root canal treatment was explained, may opt to have the tooth completely removed. A simple filling is not an option, since this will seal in the infection that is currently found at the root portion of the tooth. While patients may be tempted by the one-time visit of a tooth extraction, there are far reaching consequences that need to be carefully weighed. For example, once a tooth is extracted, a bridge or implant needs to replace it. This prevents the other teeth from shifting. Failure to do so may actually lead to more pain, dentists’ visits, and also costly treatment expenses.

Now that you have seen a root canal treatment explained, is it not time to brave your fears and let the dentist help you to return your teeth to their best health possible?


Root Canal at Animated Teeth


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