Root Canal Therapy is a procedure performed when the internal space of a tooth has become infected with bacteria. All teeth have a hollow chamber in the center that contains a soft tissue called pulp. This pulp is supplied with nerves and blood vessels that travel through hollow “canals,” in the roots of each tooth. Sometimes, due to cavities or cracks, this pulp can become infected with bacteria, leading to a painful abscess.
Root Canal Therapy treats this infection by creating a small opening in a tooth that allows a dentist to use files to clean all the infected tissue out of the inside of a tooth. Afterwards, that internal space is sterilized and sealed with a rubber-like material to prevent reinfection. This process allows a person to retain their natural tooth, free of pain, avoiding the need for an extraction and a replacement like an implant or a bridge.
Are Root Canals Painful?
In the vast majority of cases they are not. Advances in techniques and materials have made the procedure both shorter and more efficient. We always make sure we achieve profound anesthesia before starting a root canal, and because of this, the process is often no more painful that a standard filling. Believe it or not, we frequently have patients fall asleep during their root canal!