How Does a Root Canal Become Infected?
Many people associate the term “root canal” with a dental procedure. However, it is actually the name of a part of your tooth. This interior portion of the tooth houses nerve tissue that can become infected. If infection sets in, the dental procedure is used to clear out the area and remove all the affected tissue.
The Root Canal and How It Becomes Infected
The root canal is a hollow space on the inside of your tooth. Inside this space is nerve-rich tissue called the pulp. The individual nerve that serves the tooth, allowing it to feel pressure and changes in temperature, is also housed in this space. Blood vessels can also be found here, as well as connective tissues that are important to the tooth’s health.
If infection sets in, the dental procedure is used to clear out the area and remove all the affected tissue.
Nerve tissue inside the root canal can become infected under several circumstances. These include:
- Extensive tooth decay
- Damage to the tooth
- Multiple restoration procedures
- Facial trauma
- Cracks or chips in the tooth
When the tooth is damaged or otherwise disrupted, bacteria finds its way into the root canal and can cause an infection. In some cases, infection can become severe, causing extreme discomfort. A root canal procedure is necessary to remove the infection completely.
The Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure has an undeserved reputation as a difficult process. It is in actually no more unpleasant than having a tooth filled. To remove the infected tissue, the dentist makes a small hole in the tooth. The pulp, nerve, and other tissues in the root canal are removed through this hole. When the infected tissue is completely evacuated, the interior of the tooth is refilled with a sealant. In some cases, your dentist might choose to fill the tooth temporarily with medication to ensure the infection is completely eliminated before sealing the tooth. The hole used to evacuate the tooth’s interior is closed with a filling. The tooth is then treated with a crown to keep it strong and ensure it will be functional for many years to come.
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