Table of Contents
- What is a root canal?
- Why is a root canal necessary?
- Why is a root canal necessary? (Part 2)
- Why is a root canal necessary? (Part 3)
- How is a root canal procedure performed?
- What happens during a root canal procedure? (Continued)
- Is there pain after getting a root canal?
- Are there special considerations for getting a root canal during pregnancy?
- What kind of problems or complications may occur after a root canal?
- What kind of problems or complications may occur after a root canal? (Continued)
- How long do root canals last?
- How much does a root canal cost?
- Are there any alternatives to a root canal?
- When should a tooth be extracted instead of getting a root canal?
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a treatment of the pulp of the tooth that is inflamed, infected, or dead. The dental pulp is a soft substance in the center of the tooth that consists of the 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) and 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 exclusively 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 dental pulp is removed and all the canals and pulp chamber of the tooth are filled and sealed to prevent bacteria from entering.