Endodontic treatment, also known as "root canals" are rather heroic! Most teeth that cause pain can be saved with this technique.
"Root Canal" is actually an anatomical name given to the small cylindrical canal in the center of the root. It holds thread of tissue that has cells, vessels and nerves in it just like the inside of your finger. The tissue is called "dental pulp". All this tissue and its vessels enter the tooth at the tip of the root. The dental pulp can get infected or inflamed from decay or trauma. The broken blood vessels can't deliver the sustaining food to the cells and the dental pulp dies. This whole process is usually very painful with gangrene fluids leaking out the root tip into the surrounding bone. Ouch.
Relief of the pain is accomplished either by extracting the tooth, or by performing a root canal treatment. The tooth is cleaned, sterilized and filled in one or two visits. Risks of pain during treatment are similar to that of having any dental filling. All the root canal work is done inside the tooth, and for a patient, it is very similar to having a filling done.
After the root canal treatment is complete, a temporary filling is placed to allow the tooth time to heal. Finally, a permanent filling or ideally, a crown is placed to strengthen the tooth permanently. Many root canal treatment cases can be treated here at Mountain View Dental, though we may sometimes refer patients to the root canal specialist, or Endodontist for specialized treatment.