A root canal therapy involves the treatment of an inflamed pulpal tissue of a diseased or infected tooth. This pulpal tissue is comprised of blood vessels and nerve networks. Each tooth has its own blood and nerve supply.
This pulpal tissue is located inside the narrow space situated in the center of the tooth root or roots. This space is referred too as the canal of a single rooted tooth like a central incisor or canals of a multi-rooted tooth like a molar. Most molars will have at least three canals and some may have four or more!
When the pulpal tissue becomes irritated or damaged due to prolonged dental caries activity or from a traumatic blow or injury, an infection of the pulp usually takes place. This infection may be acute or chronic depending on the circumstances that caused the infection or damage initially.
One of the more common causes of tooth nerve damage is trauma. The traumatized tooth initially may become loose, painful and eventually tightens up but then discolors (darkens). The teeth usually involved in this type of situation are the maxillary (upper jaw ) anterior (front) teeth and less commonly the (lower jaw) anterior teeth.
If you ever notice that someone elses front tooth or teeth are dark in colour, you could safely assume that a particular tooth has been traumatized.The dental profession refers to this type of tooth as a non-vital, chronically infected tooth without any painful symptoms.
A root canal therapy involves the removal of the diseased or infected pulp tissue, using files and reamers to instrument the canal until it is free from all bacteria. It is then sterilized and hermetically filled or sealed with a biological, compatible filling material such as Gutta-percha, a rubber like material usually pink in colour.
It is important to have non-vital teeth treated sooner, rather than later to prevent the infection from reaching the surrounding bone tissue and causing additional problems.
Root canal therapy usually is done in one appointment, however that said,depending on the individual situation, a series of appointments may be necessary to complete the treatment.
Root canal therapy for the most part is highly successful. Probably in the 90 to 95% range. Most root canal treatments are done readily and without any pain or consequence. That said however, there are those situations where root canal treatment my be very painful and un-desirable.