Why do I need a root canal?
Inside your teeth is soft tissue containing nerves called the dental pulp, or tooth pulp. When the pulp is unable to heal itself from an injury or a disease, it’s removal can save the tooth.
Things like a crack or fracture, even a deep cavity in a tooth are common causes of pulp damage or pulp death. It’s often just the simple exposure of bacteria in your saliva to the pulp which can cause an infection in the dental pulp, and once infected it’s easy for the infection to spread to surround teeth and tissues.
To save the tooth with the problem and to prevent the spread of the problem to other areas in your mouth, your dentist will recommend root canal treatment.
What actually is root canal treatment?
Also called endodontic treatment, a root canal is the name for the process of removing infected or dead pulp from the inside of your tooth.
Basically, your dentist drills into the tooth to expose the tooth pulp and then with a special tool gently scrapes out the dental pulp. To ensure that the infection is completely removed your dentist will carefully clean out the entire interior of your tooth and then apply special medications to prevent reinfections.
Then a temporary covering (temporary dental crown or in some cases a temporary filling) is put in place to cover up the whole in your tooth the dentist made. You then have a period where you allow your body to repair and adjust before getting a final dental crown put on the tooth.
This period of rest in between the first treatment and getting the final crown or filling are to allow your dentist to see if you get another infection because there is an even deeper problem that needs to be attended to or not.
How long will I keep my tooth after a root canal?
The length of time varies depending on your oral health – particularly the gums and tissues around the treated tooth. If you have good supply to your gums so that the root gets nourishment then it’s possible for your root canal treated tooth to last a lifetime.