What is a root canal treatment?

Dante A. Gonzales, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

Root canal treatments are used to find the cause and then treat problems of the tooth's soft core, otherwise known as dental pulp. Pulp provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth by running like a thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies. If you don't remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it. During a root canal treatment, the dentist removes the pulp, and the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Your dentist  then places a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger and protect it.

A root canal treatment is a dental procedure that cleans out the nerves from the roots of a tooth if they have become infected or too sensitive to bear. This can be caused by untreated cavities that reach the pulp, or center of the tooth. Sometimes a crown is placed over a tooth that has just undergone a root canal. This is because the root canal has removed the blood supply from the tooth, so the tooth itself could become brittle and is more likely to crack under use. Crowns can prevent cracking.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.