A “root canal” is a term that refers to the process by which the nerve and pulp tissue is removed from inside the tooth.
Teeth are made up of three layers. The first is the white, hard outer layer called enamel. The next layer is the dentin. The inner most layer is where the nerve (pulp), blood vessels and connective tissue are found. The pulp extends down into each root of the tooth.
When the pulp becomes damaged due to injury or an infection develops from decay, the tooth becomes painful. Swelling can sometimes appear. If the infection is not treated, it will destroy the bone tissue in your jaw.
A root canal is simply the removal of the pulp and tissues in the inner most layer of the tooth. If the pulp is not removed, the only other treatment option is to extract the tooth. The pulp is removed by a small hole that is drilled into the tooth.
The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed. A temporary filling is placed until a more permanent restoration is placed at a later date. The treatment is usually completed in one to three visits.
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