Root canals are probably the most feared and misunderstood of all dental procedures. The truth is that Dr. Browne can perform a root canal without any pain! The myth that root canal treatment is horrific probably originates from the pain and anguish caused by the tooth before it has been treated.
A root canal is required to save a tooth when the nerve or pulp has become infected. The infection can be caused by a deep cavity or fracture which causes bacteria to attack the nerve of the tooth. The nerve then swells with infection and having no place to go because it is surrounded by tooth structure, the infection escapes out of a small opening at the end of the tooth’s root. The infection will then produce a hole in the bone structure surrounding the tooth forming an abscess and an extreme amount of pain and swelling.
The root canal therapy really has nothing to do with the root, but instead involves removing the nerve of the tooth. The nerve, along with it’s corresponding blood vessel, comprise the pulp of the tooth. If the pulp becomes infected it must be removed from the tooth. This is accomplished by using a series of dental files with ever increasing diameters which remove and cleanse the nerve from the inside the root of the tooth. The inside of the root where the nerve was is then filled with a material called gutta percha. Once the root canal is complete, which usually takes about two visits, the tooth will no longer hurt and the abscess in the bone will heal.