Root canal therapy is an indispensable procedure in the treatment of teeth that are severely decayed, infected, or broken; allowing the affected tooth to be saved from extraction and maintained for many more years.
A root canal is part of a naturally occurring space within a tooth that consists of the pulp chamber, the main canal, and more intricate anatomical branches that may connect the root canals to each other or to the surface of the root. The smaller branches are most frequently found near the root end (apex) but may be encountered anywhere along the root length.
In a root canal procedure, the dentist will access the pulp chamber in the crown of the tooth and will reveal the root canals contained in the roots of the tooth. The infected nerve is removed and the canals are shaped using special files to smooth the walls and ensure no pulp tissue or infection is left. The canals are then filled with a special material that seals off the root canals.
Unfortunately, after root canal therapy the tooth often becomes brittle. To protect the tooth from fracture, it is recommended that a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy be restored with a crown or veneer.