Our teeth are made up of three layers; the outermost, hard layer is called the enamel, the middle layer is the dentin, and the inner portion is called the pulp. Unlike the outer portion of a tooth, the pulp is very soft and contains nerves and blood vessels which support the growth and development of teeth during childhood.
Root canal (also known as endodontic treatment) is needed when there is an inflammation or infection in the pulp of the tooth. An inflammation in the pulp may be caused by a crack or chip in the tooth, a root fracture, repeated dental procedures, tooth decay or gum disease. The inflammation creates pressure and swelling inside the tooth, causing pain. If left untreated, a root canal infection can cause the pulp to die, and in worst cases, even tooth loss. Endodontic treatment can protect the tooth from damage and extraction and relieves you of the severe pain caused by the infection.
You may need root canal therapy if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and temperatures
- Intense pain in the tooth which comes and goes away
- Discoloration of the tooth
- An abscess or swelling near the tooth (in the gums or on the face)
Root Canal Procedure
The root canal begins with the removal of the infected pulp from the pulp chamber. Then the root canals are cleaned to remove toxins and bacteria before shaping them. Next, each canal is filled with a dental filling material called gutta-percha. After the treatment is complete, a crown will be placed over the tooth to offer protection and strength.
For more information about root canal therapy, please schedule a consultation at our office by calling (616) 229-0269. Our practice has locations conveniently located in Grand Rapids, Jenison and Kalamazoo, Michigan.