A root canal is technically a space within the root of a tooth, but the term is generally used to refer to a root canal surgery. This endodontic treatment involves removing an infected or inflamed pulp inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the area, and filling and sealing with special material. The main goal is to have the tooth function like a normal tooth, without having to remove it.
Despite how scary it may sound, the procedure is done under anesthesia and involves minimal pain. Getting a Henderson root canal is an attempt to save the infected tooth from extraction, because hanging onto the natural tooth, even if problematic, is more preferable than getting an implant for various reasons:
Anatomically, inside the tooth underneath the white enamel and the hard layer known as the dentin, there is the pulp, a soft tissue. This pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. The pulp helps grow the root of the tooth as a person grows from childhood.
A fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp, because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues it surrounds. A Henderson root canal surgery may become necessary if there is severe decay, infection, or damage to the tooth.
Damages can result from repeated procedures on the tooth, a cracked or chipped tooth, or trauma to the tooth. If not treated, the tooth becomes painful and may lead to abscess, pulp death, bone loss, and tooth loss.
Sometimes, there are no symptoms present.
A root canal procedure is usually performed by a general dentist or a specialist, known as an endodontist. It can take one to three visits to complete the procedure. In the first visit, the dentist takes X-rays to determine the extent of the damage. The patient then receives a local anesthetic to control pain. A rubber-like sheet called a dental dam is put in the mouth to keep the tooth clean and free of saliva.
Decay is removed and the dentist makes an opening in the tooth to access the pulp chamber. Using small dental instruments, the dentist carefully removes the infected or diseased pulp.
Afterwards, the pulp chamber and root canals are flushed and cleaned. After cleaning and drying, the root canal site is then filled with biocompatible material called gutta-percha. A temporary crown is placed on the treated tooth to restore normal chewing function necessary for eating and drinking.
The final step is placing a crown. A crown looks realistic and resembles the appearance of the natural tooth. It can be made of gold, porcelain, or porcelain fused to metal, ceramic, or composite resin. Sometimes, a metal post in the tooth is required to hold the crown in place.
Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist can dramatically reduce the chances prevent of a root canal procedure.