If you need to get a root canal, then you might be a bit unsure about the procedure. To help assuage your fears, here is an overview of what a root canal is and why they are so important:

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure that involves the surgical removal of dental pulp from a tooth. Before the procedure, you will likely be given anesthesia, which is even more important for root canals than other dental procedures, since the dentist will be operating on a very sensitive area. The dentist will then drill a hole into the tooth in order to access the pulp. With some specialized instruments, the infected pulp will all be removed from the tooth. The tooth will then need to be cleaned, filled with replacement material, and sealed off to prevent reinfection.

What happens to the tooth after a root canal?

Once all that is done, your dentist will need to fit you for a crown in order to restore the structure of your tooth. However, crowns take quite a while to be made, so you will need to wear a type of temporary crown in the meantime. These temporary crowns are not as comfortable as the final product will be, so there's no need to worry if it doesn't sit perfectly in your mouth. On the other hand, if you are in significant discomfort after getting a temporary crown placed, you should consult your dentist to see if everything is alright. If something is wrong with the remaining pulp and nerve endings in the tooth, then you could experience a lot of pain in the near future.

Fortunately, the entire process is often done in a single sitting, which means that you probably won't need to come back to the dentist until you need to get your final crown fitted.

What makes an infection of the pulp so dangerous?

Each tooth contains several layers of material, but you are probably only familiar with the outermost layer, which is the enamel. The deepest layer is known as the pulp, which is particularly important because it also contains a bundle of nerve endings. This means that any infection in the pulp will be extremely painful due to the presence of nerve endings. If an infection does reach that far, then it means a significant portion of the tooth is compromised and the infection might spread to your gums or other teeth. If left unchecked, this type of infection can lead to a situation where you have no choice but to remove the tooth in question.

For more information, visit Rick Chavez DDS.