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Lakeview South Loop

All About Root Canals

Posted on April 18th, 2016 by


Root canal treatments, otherwise known as “endodontic” treatments, are not nearly as scary as they are often thought to be. To better understand root canal treatments, it helps to know a little about the anatomy of a tooth. There are two parts of a tooth: the crown and the root. The crown is the visible part of the tooth that sits above the gum line. The root is below the gums—it is the part that anchors the tooth to the mouth.
The material makeup of a tooth has four elements: enamel, dentin, pulp, and cementum. The visible layer of a tooth is the enamel. Under that is the second layer, which is the dentin. At the center of the tooth lays soft tissue which is known as the “tooth pulp.” The pulp begins under the tooth crown and goes through the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels within the pulp connect with bone.
Sometimes teeth become decayed at their root which can form an abscess—which is a pocket of pus that forms on the tip of the tooth root. Your dentist might suggest a root canal in lieu of an extraction if this is the case. During the root canal procedure, the dentist will, using special tools, remove the nerve and pulp and seal the tooth.
Once a tooth has emerged through the gum, the nerve is no longer serves a function. In a mature mouth, the root’s function is strictly sensory; the lack of the nerve and pulp has no affect on the function of the tooth.

Why remove the pulp?

In the event the tooth nerve and pulp are compromised, they begin to break down and bacteria form within the chamber. The bacteria are what create the problem. This can lead to infection or an abscess, which occurs when the infection reaches the point where is spreads past the root. An infection not only can lead tooth abscess, it can also cause bone loss, swelling, and bacterial drainage into the gums.
The nerve and pulp can become infected due to unchecked decay, repeated dental work performed on the same tooth, large fillings, or trauma.

When should you consider a root canal?

Normally an individual that is a candidate for a root canal will suffer from a number of symptoms which include:
• A tooth ache, worsened when pressure is applied to the tooth
• Sensitivity to heat or cold
• Darkening of the tooth
• Gum swelling and tenderness
Root canals have a bad reputation. People associate them with extreme pain and scary dental procedures. The truth is, when the procedure is carried out by highly skilled dentists in South Loop or Lakeview, it is no more painful than having a cavity filled.

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