Few things are as painful in life as an infected tooth. The discomfort can be so intense that you may want the tooth extracted – immediately. However, extraction is a last resort in solving dental problems. If possible, it is always best to keep your natural teeth with general dentistry. This is where root canal therapy comes in.
In the early stages of decay, a tooth’s enamel has been eaten away causing a small cavity. Once the decay breaches the enamel which is the hard outside layer of the tooth, it spreads to the dentin. This layer is softer. Here decay can spread faster and farther. Unchecked, it will eventually reach the nerve of the tooth. You may feel some discomfort with hot and cold beverages and foods when the decay is in the dentin area and as it gets closer to the nerve your tooth may become even more sensitive. Once the nerve is involved pain can increase to unbearable levels. Infection of the nerve may result in an abscess forming at the root of the tooth increasing pain and eventually involving the bone tissue around the tooth.
Root canal therapy (RCT) is a process by which the interior of the tooth down to the apex or bottom of the root is cleaned out. All of the infected tissue and bacteria are removed from the tooth and the root is then filled with a special sterile filling material and sealed off to keep bacteria out. This procedure saves the tooth from extraction while eliminating pain and discomfort.