What is a Root Canal?

Categories: Restorative Dentistry
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Published on: February 28, 2012

As a noun, a root canal is the chamber within a tooth’s core. The canal within the tooth holds pulp, which contains the tooth’s nerve. Since teeth are living structures, they require a nutrient supply and waste removal, which the pulp provides. A deep cavity, fracture (crack), or chip can compromise the sealed root canal and allow bacteria to infect the pulp.

Indications for Root Canal Treatment

The most common symptom of  tooth infection is an acute and severe toothache. As bacterial infection grows in the tooth’s canal, pressure builds and causes pain. An infected pulp will ultimately die, so the patient has two options to restore oral health: a root canal procedure or tooth extraction. When these treatments are considered, root canal therapy is the most conservative option.

The Root Canal Procedure

The procedure, “root canal” entails removing the infected pulp from within a tooth’s core, then sealing the tooth so that it can remain intact. The root canal procedure relieves pressure, pain, and infection, restoring comfort and health to the dying tooth.

With contemporary micro-tools, an endodontist can gently and thoroughly clean infection from a tooth’s canal. Most often, a crown is placed atop the treated tooth after a root canal.  Dr. Greg Seal is a Dallas prosthodontist to whom patients are commonly referred for placement of crowns on teeth which have been endodontically treated.

Seek a Second Opinion

If you’ve been advised to have a root canal, you may wish to get a second opinion. Don’t delay action, though. An internally infected tooth can quickly worsen, reducing the potential for effective root canal treatment. You have a narrow window in which a root canal is possible. When the window closes, extraction is the only option.

To talk with Dr. Seal about root canal treatment or tooth replacement, contact our Dallas prosthodontist office today at (214) 361-0883. With over 25 years’ experience as a North Dallas prosthodontist and cosmetic dentist, Dr. Seal serves residents in the Katy Trail and SMU areas, as well as Highland Park, University Park, and the neighboring communities.