What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure that dentists perform to save a natural tooth when there is damage or infection present in its pulp chamber (aka canal). At Travis Wilson Family Dentistry in Beaver Dam and Owensboro, Kentucky, Dr. Wilson performs root canals to help patients save their natural teeth.

Dental Pulp: What is It?

Dental pulp is located within the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber can be found in the portion of the tooth that is located beneath the gum line. This pulp consists of blood vessels, the tooth’s nerve (aka root), and connective tissue. Removing the infected or damaged pulp allows the patient to keep his or her natural tooth.

How Does the Pulp of a Tooth Sustain Damage?

The pulp of a tooth may become inflamed, irritated, and infected due to a chipped or cracked tooth, facial trauma, large fillings, repeated procedures performed on the same tooth, or deep decay.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

During a root canal, Dr. Wilson removes the infected or damaged pulp, including the nerve. He cleans out the pulp chamber and then seals it with dental cement. The prosthetic tooth (i.e., dental crown) is placed over the tooth.

If the infection is present, Dr. Wilson will hold off on sealing the canal. Instead, he will place medication directly inside the chamber.

To keep contaminants out of the hole in between appointments, Dr. Wilson places a temporary filling in the opening of the tooth. The patient needs to return to the office once the infection clears up to have the root canal completed.

The Importance of Removing the Pulp

After sustaining damage, the pulp begins breaking down, which allows bacteria to enter the chamber. They begin multiplying. The combination of the bacteria and dying pulp can lead to an infection or an abscessed tooth.

What is an Abscessed Tooth?

An abscessed tooth is typically quite painful. When a tooth becomes abscessed, a pocket full of pus forms at the end of its root.

Other issues that can arise when an infected tooth is left untreated:

  • Bone loss at the tip of the root.
  • Inflammation can affect other areas, including the neck, face, or head.
  • Drainage problems.
  • The tooth may develop a hole that allows the infection to drain into the gingival tissue (aka gum tissue) or through the cheek and into the skin.

Are Root Canals Painful?

Many people hear root canal and immediately think pain, however, most patients state that the feeling experienced during a root canal is comparable to that which is felt while a filling is placed.

If you have a tooth that you think needs a root canal, contact Travis Wilson Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.

Travis Wilson Family Dentistry Locations

1042 North Main Street, Beaver Dam, Kentucky(270).274.3645

2014 Triplett Street, Owensboro, Kentucky (270).926.6040