Our teeth, like many other organs in the human body, are more complex than what meets the eye. We usually only think of what we see above the gum line when it comes to teeth.
Anatomy of a Tooth
Teeth are anchored into the jaw by roots and are composed of layers:
- Enamel. It’s harder than bone and one of the hardest substances on Earth. Tooth enamel protects the inner layers of the tooth and withstands daily wear and tear.
- Dentin. The dentin layer is porous and lies between the enamel and pulp. It is a conduit between the protective enamel and the innermost part of the tooth.
- Pulp. The tooth’s innermost chamber is the pulp. It’s a soft, nerve-filled tissue that is a liaison between the jaw, the body, and the tooth itself.
Roots are the stability of a tree. The foundation is the strength of a house. It’s the same concept with teeth. When teeth roots are infected, it causes pain and unrest. If decay has eaten all the way through the enamel and dentin and reached the tooth’s pulp, we recommend root canal therapy. The procedure is performed to halt the spread of infection and pain and save the tooth. Avoiding root canal therapy when it’s necessary could result in the need for a tooth extraction.
Root canal therapy is performed by getting down to the root of the tooth and cleaning out the decay. Then the hollowed out and newly cleaned canal is filled with a pink, rubbery material below the gum line and regular dental filling above it. You may feel some soreness after the procedure but the toothache you had will be gone, as the infection has been removed. Most dentists suggest a crown on a tooth after root canal therapy because it’s more brittle, especially if it’s a back tooth.
It Doesn’t Have to Hurt Anymore
Many wince at the mention of the word root canal, as they have the mythical reputation for being lengthy and painful. We assure you that those days are long gone. In reality, root canal therapy patients are given local anesthesia to minimize discomfort and we also offer gas (nitrous oxide) or other sedation options for further relaxation. We do our best to make root canal therapy as painless as possible.