ROOT CANAL THERAPY
Root canal therapy, or RCT, is the removal of infected nerve tissue from a tooth. Our teeth consist of three layers: enamel, dentin and the pulp. Each root of a tooth has a pulp chamber that holds the nerve, connective tissue and blood vessels of that tooth. If the pulp chamber is affected by inflammation or an infection, swelling and pain can occur. There are several factors that can cause a tooth to need a root canal, such as:
- a cracked tooth into the nerve
- a large filling near the nerve of the tooth
- large decay that touches or is close to the pulp chamber
- an abscess (or infection) at the root tip
Treatment for these conditions consists of removing the infected nerve of the tooth. The tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, and then filled with a flexible rubber material called gutta-percha. A small filling (see composite or amalgam filling tab) is placed over the opening of the tooth. Once the root canal therapy is complete, you should regain full function without any feeling from the tooth. In most cases, a crown is recommended after a root canal because the tooth is more brittle and likely to break down (see crown tab).