What is Root Canal Treatment?

A tooth’s root canal begins at the inner chamber, or pulp, of the tooth, and carries the tooth’s nerves and soft tissues into the jawbone where the root is secured, and from which the tooth receives necessary minerals and nutrients. In extreme cases of tooth decay, infection can travel to the pulp and through the root canals into surrounding bone and tissues.

Root canal treatment is designed to remove decay from the pulp chamber and root canals, then seal them to prevent the infection from spreading. In addition to saving the tooth, the procedure also alleviates pain associated with the infection, and restores your ability to bite and chew comfortably.

Why won’t a filling work?

Before root canal treatment becomes necessary, you may be able to treat a cavity successfully with a tooth filling. However, a filling is only able to restore the main structure of the tooth, the dentin. When decay reaches the pulp chamber at the center of the dentin, a filling will not be enough to restore the tooth and stop decay from entering the root canal.

Is there an alternative to root canal treatment?

By the time root canal treatment becomes necessary, your tooth may be in danger of becoming so infected that it can no longer be restored. Hesitating increases your chances of losing the tooth or needing a tooth extraction, and more extensive restorative treatment.

Generally, you can avoid the need for root canal treatment by maintaining a strict routine of good dental hygiene and preventive dental care. If you develop a cavity, then treat it as soon as possible to help prevent decay from reaching the pulp of your tooth.