What Is A Root Canal?

What Is A Root Canal?

TeamRoot Canal

You have probably heard of a root canal. You may have even had one before. But what exactly is a root canal procedure?

The goal of root canal treatment is to restore the health of a damaged or infected tooth. When it is successful, your tooth can remain in place for a natural look and function.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

At the center of every tooth there is a chamber called the root canal. It begins at the base of the crown and extends into the root. The root canal contains dental pulp, soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves that sustain the tooth as it develops and helps keep it healthy.

If the dental pulp is compromised in some way, due to an infection or injury, it can threaten the health of the tooth. Bacteria can find its way into the root canal through a deep cavity or crack in a tooth, infecting the dental pulp. A tooth that gets bumped can result in damage to the dental pulp and sometimes bleeding inside the tooth. A root canal may also be recommended to prevent an at-risk tooth from developing an infection.

The Root Canal Treatment Process

During a root canal a small hole is made in the crown of the tooth in order to access the root canal. The dental pulp is removed from the tooth and the root canal is thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected. The tooth is then filled with a replacement material that fortifies the tooth and is resistant to infection. A crown is then placed over the tooth to protect the remaining tooth material and the root.

Can A Tooth Survive Without Dental Pulp?

Dental pulp is crucial in the development of a tooth. It helps the tooth form and grow until it is mature and ready to come through the gums. But once a permanent tooth is in place, the dental pulp is no longer needed. It can be completely removed and replaced and the tooth can still survive. After a root canal, a tooth may last for the rest of your life with no need for further treatment.

Benefits of a Root Canal

Root canal treatment offers many benefits:

  • Relieves pain. An infected tooth can be painful, but a root canal removes the nerves along with the dental pulp, which eliminates pain.
  • May prevent pain. A tooth that is at-risk of infection due to a deep cavity or a crack can be treated proactively to prevent pain.
  • Saves the natural tooth. A root canal can save your natural tooth, allowing it to remain in place to preserve your smile and your dental function. It prevents the need for a replacement tooth.
  • Prevents infection from spreading. When a tooth is treated at the first sign of an infection or a risk, it can prevent the infection from spreading to the surrounding tissues and other teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals

Is a root canal painful?

This is one of the most common myths about root canals, but it is not true. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area where the root canal is being performed. It is no more painful than a routine cavity filling.

How long does a root canal take?

A root canal procedure may take anywhere from 30-90 minutes. A smaller tooth may only take 30 minutes, but a larger tooth may take closer to an hour or 90 minutes. The larger the tooth and the more complex the root canal structure, the longer it takes to clean out all of the dental pulp.

Root Canal Treatment at Barkoff Dental

Barkoff Dental provides root canal treatment as a part of our comprehensive dental services. This common dental procedure has been performed countless times in our office with great success. Our patients experience improved oral health in a comfortable and relaxing environment.

To learn more, call 516-921-1133 or contact us today to schedule an appointment.