A tooth’s root canal is the chamber inside of its root, which travels underneath your gums and into a socket in your jawbone. The root canal contains nerves and blood vessels that begin at the tooth’s pulp (center chamber) and extend into the jawbone. The point of root canal treatment is to remove these tissues when they become infected in order to stop the infection from spreading beyond the tooth. In addition to saving the tooth, root canal treatment also alleviates the intense discomfort that often accompanies an internal tooth infection.
About Your Root Canals
- The need for root canal treatment often arises from extensive tooth decay. If you develop a cavity and do not treat it in time, then the infection can spread from the tooth’s main structure, or dentin, into the pulp and through the root canals.
- Even if you haven’t developed a cavity, you may still require root canal treatment if your tooth is cracked, fractured, or broken, and the pulp becomes exposed due to the damage. The procedure can prevent the tooth’s internal tissues from becoming infected and preserve the remaining tooth structure.
- Because it takes significant damage or infection to reach a tooth’s pulp, the tooth may be much weaker after root canal treatment is completed. To reinforce it, your dentist can craft and place a custom dental crown over the tooth after its root canal and interior have been thoroughly cleaned.
- If you wait too long to receive root canal treatment, then the tooth infection can spread severely enough that restoring it is no longer possible. If so, then tooth extraction may be your only option for stopping the infection from spreading to nearby tissues and bone structure.