The tooth is comprised of two main parts: the crown, which is above the gums and the root, which is embedded in the bone.
Inside the tooth is the blood and nerve supply referred to as the pulp. The pulp nourishes the tooth and once diseased can cause an abscess and must be removed in order to keep the tooth structure.
Common causes of a diseased pulp are untreated tooth decay in the tooth or trauma or a hard strike to the tooth.
During Root Canal Therapy the pulp is removed with a series of files to clean out the nerve and diseased tissue. This is usually accomplished on the first visit. Medication may be placed inside of the tooth to eliminate any bacteria and a temporary filling placed over it until the next visit.
On the next visit, if all traces of the infection are gone, a rubber plug, known as gutta percha, will be placed inside of the roots and pulp chamber to seal the tooth. Once the blood supply is gone the tooth will become brittle and gray and will require a crown to preserve the tooth. You will be referred back to your general dentist for this procedure.
This endodontic (root canal) procedure allows you to keep your tooth and helps to maintain the correct bite and supports the remaining teeth and mouth structures.