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Clinical Overview
Root Canal

Clinical Overview


Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

Root canals are ultra-thin divisions that branch off from the pulp chamber underlying a tooth’s dentin and enamel. Root canals are ultra-thin divisions that branch off from the pulp chamber underlying a tooth’s dentin and enamel. The pulp tissue of teeth is fed by blood vessels that enter the tooth from the very tip of the root and travel up the canal alongside nerves into a chamber in the middle of the tooth. Teeth have at least one, but no more than five root canals. Root canal therapy is generally the option for treating root canals that have become infected from deep cavities, a tooth fracture, or an injury due to trauma. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood flow and cellular activity, and pressure cannot be relieved from inside the tooth. Pain in the tooth is commonly felt when biting down, chewing, and when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and drinks. Without treatment, the infection will spread. The bone around the tooth can begin to degenerate, and the tooth will loosen. By first cleaning out the diseased pulp and reshaping the root canals, dentists can then fill the canals with antiseptic materials designed to inhibit further infection. After a waiting period during which dentists check to see if the tooth is responding to the treatment, teeth can then be permanently sealed with a crown. Placement of a crown is often recommended after root canal therapy. Why? After root canal therapy, the tooth is non-vital (no blood flows in) which results in dessication of the inorganic/bony tissue left. Therefore the teeth are more susceptible to fracture. A crown holds the tooth together and prevents fracture.

Last updated: May-03-07

 
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