November 28, 2015
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Root Canal

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What is a root canal?

A root canal is a treatment of the pulp of the tooth that is inflamed, infected, or dead. The pulp is a soft substance in the center of the tooth that consists of nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp chamber is the hollow part in the center of the tooth that contains the pulp, and it continues down canals that extend through the roots of teeth and into the surrounding bone. Some roots have more than one root canal, but all have at least one canal.

Root canal treatment (RCT), or endodontic treatment, are the more correct terms for a procedure that treats the nerve of the tooth. Endodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals specifically with the tooth pulp and tissues surrounding the root of the tooth. A root canal problem may be treated by a general dentist or by an endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist who has gone to multiple years of specialty training after dental school to focus particularly on root canal treatments. General dentists are qualified to perform root canals but may refer a patient to an endodontist if the tooth is particularly complicated or is being treated for the second time.

When the root canal is treated, the pulp of the tooth is removed and all the canals and pulp chamber of the tooth are filled and sealed to prevent bacteria from entering.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/2/2014


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