Root canal treatment, also known as root canal, is a dental procedure used in treatment of the pulp of a tooth, where the infected part of the pulp is eliminated and the tooth is decontaminated and protected from future infections. This procedure is often referred to as to endodontic therapy. Root canals and pulp chambers are hollow spaces within the tooth which normally contain nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities. When the tooth is infected, these structures need to be removed, and the hollow spaces need to be cleaned and disinfected. After the therapeutic procedure, a dentist will fill the decontaminated canals and reshape the tooth. This is an easy and painless procedure if it is properly done, but a lot of people have very unpleasant experiences with root canal therapy.
The root canals and pulp tissue
Most of the people use terms “nerve” or “nerve tissue” to refer to the pulp tissue found in the tooth. The pulp chamber is a hollow space situated in the center of the tooth. The root canals are situated below the visible part of the tooth, and they join up at the top to form a pulp chamber. The nerve tissue is important in formation and development of the tooth, but once when the tooth is developed the tissue just helps to keep the tooth active and vital. It supplies the tooth’s mineralized tissues with nutrients and moisture and creates reparative dentin.
Root canal procedure
When the tooth’s nerve suffers degenerative changes and when the bacterial infection starts developing in the tooth, doctor will recommend a tooth canal procedure. The goal of the treatment is to clean the tissues around the tooth’s root from inflammation and to restore a healthy environment inside of the tooth. Dentist will remove the bacteria, nerve tissue and organic debris left from its breakdown, and make sure there is nothing left to cause an inflammation. When the space is cleansed, dentist will fill and seal up the interior of the tooth.
If left untreated, the bacteria will occupy the tooth’s nerve area where white blood cells cannot enter to combat the infection. This happens because nerve's blood and lymphatic vessels, which normally carry the white blood cells, have also begun to degenerate. The bacteria inside of the tooth cavity can therefore, grow and thieve as none of the body’s defense mechanisms can reach them efficiently. The infection may even completely overwhelm the body's defense mechanisms causing a lot of pain and swelling around the tooth.