Root Canal Therapy
The center of each tooth contains an area known as the pulp chamber. This pulp chamber is composed of nerves and blood vessels. If bacteria enters the pulp chamber from a crack, trauma, or decay, the pulp becomes infected and swollen, the result of which is intense pain. A root canal, also called an endodontic procedure, involves removing the infected pulp and treating and filling the empty pulp chamber with a natural gum-like material called gutta-percha. Once the tooth is no longer painful or symptomatic, a crown is usually placed over the treated tooth, to prevent fractures.
A root canal treatment is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that would otherwise die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a problem tooth is the solution, but in reality, removing a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
A patient may need a root canal if he or she shows signs of an abscess or "pimple" on the gum tissue just below a tooth, isolated sensitivity to temperature, especially cold, swelling, tenderness and pain. However, occasionally if a tooth is no longer vital, a patient may have no symptoms.