Your tooth consists of hard and soft tissue. The center of the tooth has soft pulp tissue made up of nerve fibers, arteries, veins that keep your tooth alive. Each tooth’s nerve enters the tooth at the very tip of its roots. From there, the nerve runs through the center of the root in the form of small “root canals,” which join up with the tooth’s pulp chamber.
When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to a deep bacterial cavity or fracture, the tooth pulp may die. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased pressure to build within a tooth that cannot be relieved, causing severe pain.
Without treatment, the infection will spread to the bone around the tooth and sometimes out into the soft tissue causing facial swelling. Severe facial swelling can become a life threatening medical emergency.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is a procedure that removes the damaged or dead pulp and disinfects the tooth.
The canal is reshaped, cleaned, and filled with gutta percha, a rubber-like material, to prevent recontamination of the tooth.
The tooth is then permanently sealed with a filling or a crown.