Root Canal Therapy
Root canals always get a bad rap, but they are actually a wonderful thing! Is it the most pleasant experience getting a root canal? No. But a root canal allows an otherwise doomed tooth to be saved. The problem with root canals is they are usually done on teeth that are ALREADY in pain. What has typically happened is a tooth has experienced some trauma or a cavity has gotten so deep that the nerve of that tooth gets inflamed or infected. That is when the pain hits and in order to restore the tooth back to health, a root canal must be done.
Each pearly white tooth in each person has a root (typically 1-3 roots per tooth). In each one of those roots is a canal. That canal contains pulpal tissue consisting of nerves and blood vessels that keep teeth alive and well. When the tooth's pulp gets inflamed or infected, it must be removed and the canals sealed off. This is the idea behind root canal therapy.
There are two stages of root canal therapy. The first stage consists of accessing the pulpal tissue and removing the infected or inflamed nerves. At this point, it is sometimes a good idea to place some medicine in the tooth and allow it to heal for a few weeks. After a sufficient amount of healing has taken place, the tooth is then sealed. That is the second stage. It prevents any bacteria or other pathogens from re-entering the tooth and re-infecting the canals. In most cases, when the therapy is approached in this manner, there is no discomfort or pain. In some instances there is a little tenderness, but rarely is there any pain that requires medication.
Again, root canals are a wonderful way to prevent losing an otherwise doomed tooth.