Root Canals


Your teeth are similar to most other organs in the body - they are living tissue. The enamel is a strong crystalline structure which is the part you see when you look in your mouth. The dentin is a softer material underneath the enamel. Inside the center of the tooth is the pulp chamber and running down the center of the roots of the tooth are the root canals. The pulp chamber and root canals contain nerves which provide sensation and blood vessels which supply nutrients to the tooth.

If decay is allowed to progress until it reaches the pulp chamber, the nerves and blood vessels become infected. As this infection continues, an abscess forms at the ends of the roots. This abscess causes bone destruction and can spread to other areas of the jaw.

The treatment for an infected tooth is commonly called a root canal. Dentists call it an endodontic procedure. Sometimes a tooth may need a root canal even if no decay is present. It is often necessary to place a crown on a tooth that had been endodontically treated to protect the tooth against fracture.