Root canals are tiny passageways that branch off from beneath the top of the tooth, coursing their way vertically downward, until they reach the tip of the root.
Many tooth problems involve infections that spread to the inner chamber of the tooth containing blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. When an infection worsens, it can affect the roots—causing pain and sensitivity—and ultimately, the risk of an abscess.
Root canal therapy offers a high rate of success. It involves removing the diseased tissue, halting the spread of infection and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth. In fact, root canal therapy is designed to save a problem tooth.
The process involved drilling a small hole through the top of a tooth and into the inner chamber. Diseased tissue is removed, the inner chamber cleansed and disinfected, and tiny canals reshaped. The cleansed areas are then filled with an elastic material and medication to prevent infection. If necessary, the drilled hole is temporarily filled until a permanent seal is made with a crown.
Most patients have root canals with little or no discomfort or pain, and enjoy a restored tooth that can last almost as long as its healthy original.