A root canal procedure is typically performed when the nerve inside the tooth has died, and you wish to preserve the outer structure of the tooth. But, what causes the nerve of a tooth to die? Understanding this question can shed new light on the root canal procedure, removing much of the mystery and fear that has surrounded the treatment for decades.
The center of each tooth contains vital nerve tissue that supplies blood and other important nutrients. This soft tissue is protected by several layers of hard tooth structure, but it can be traumatized by fractures, cavities, infections, and even extreme forces (such as a hit or blow to the mouth). A minor insult to the nerve may result in temporary pain or sensitivity, but a more intense insult can result in the permanent death of the nerve.
A non-vital tooth can still be an asset, and your dentist will often recommend a root canal procedure rather than an extraction whenever possible.
A dead or dying nerve may or may not cause pain, but it can still present a serious dental problem. The resulting infection can only be resolved by cleaning away the dead nerve tissue, sterilizing the canal inside the tooth that once protected the nerve, and replacing it with an inactive filling material. Essentially, this describes the root canal procedure, and it is often the last resort for a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.
By eliminating the dead nerve, the outer portion of the tooth can be preserved. The root structure and the biting surface are still important to your oral health as well as your appearance, though the tooth will no longer respond to normal sensations such as temperature or pain. Without the blood supply, the tooth will generally become more brittle and fragile, issues that can be resolved with a permanent dental crown.
A non-vital tooth can still be an asset, and your dentist will often recommend a root canal procedure rather than an extraction whenever possible. To find out if a root canal procedure is right for you, call our experienced and dedicated dental team to schedule a consultation today.