What Is A Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure that is used to preserve an infected and threatened tooth. By removing the infected tooth nerve and replacing it with an inert material, the tooth is preserved.

How a Root Canal Works

A root canal is necessary when the bacteria that live in your mouth and cause cavities have penetrated deep into your tooth. They have begun to colonize the interior of the tooth, destroying and displacing your tooth nerve. That’s why most people suffering from an infected tooth experience significant pain.

If left alone, these bacteria will completely colonize your tooth and spread through the canals in the tooth roots to your jawbone, then into other teeth, your sinuses, or maybe even your brain. An infected tooth can become fatal if not treated in a timely fashion.

To remove the infection, we drill into the center of the tooth and scrape out all the infected area, as well as the remainder of the tooth nerve so there’s nothing left in the tooth to become infected or cause pain in the future. Then the tooth is filled up with an inert material, typically a type of natural rubber, though other options are available. Finally, a crown is placed on the tooth to seal and protect it.

Benefits of a Root Canal

People often dread the prospect of a root canal, but the truth is they’re very beneficial procedures. Ideally, you don’t want your tooth to become infected, but if it does, there are many reasons why you want a root canal:

  • Reduces pain—studies show that within a week patients experience less pain after a root canal than they did before

  • Prevents the spread of infection

  • Makes a damaged tooth strong and attractive again

  • Lasts as long as dental implants

  • Allows for dental implants in the future

All these benefits mean you should seriously consider a root canal treatment if you have an infected tooth. On the other hand, there are limitations. The procedure has a high success rate, but it is possible that some infection may remain and the tooth may have to be retreated. And sometimes the tooth is lost anyway. But there are no guarantees in medicine, and with a success rate as high as dental implants, it’s best to preserve your natural tooth if you can.

If you think you might need a root canal, please contact Ascent Dental in the Cherry Creek area of Denver.