Endodontic treatment or a “root canal” is a procedure that is performed in an effort to save a tooth by removing the nerve and pulp within the tooth structure. Once the pulp and nerves are removed, this open cavity is thoroughly cleaned and sealed to prevent future infection. When a tooth has an infected nerve, there are only two options:
- Root canal treatment - Extraction
Causes of a dying nerve:
- A Deep Cavity - The bacteria that causes the decay enters and infects the nerve. - Trauma - An injury from an accident, fall, sports, etc. damages the blood supply to the nerve causing it to die.
Root Canal Procedure:
A small hole is made in the chewing surface of the tooth allowing the dentist to access the nerve. After the nerve is removed, the space is filled with a sealer and the access hole is filled in. Following a root canal procedure, a crown is generally placed to protect the tooth from fracturing.
The above images illustrate an abcess at the base of the root that has been treated with a root canal procedure as explained in the above narrative.