The Root of the Problem

By Catherine M. Fascilla, D.D.S.

Most people aren’t too happy when they are told they need root canal
therapy. Although it may sound menacing, root canal therapy is a relatively simple, highly effective and painless procedure.

Root canal therapy becomes necessary when tooth decay becomes so severe that it reaches the pulp (the chamber in the center of the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves). If untreated, bacteria in the pulp can cause infection, which becomes an abscess at the end of the root. When root canal therapy is performed, the decayed pulp and nerves are removed, and the hollowed root is filled and sealed saving the natural tooth.After the treatment is completed, it is usually necessary to crown (cap) the tooth to protect it against further fracture and improve the appearance. You may think it would be simpler (and less scary) to have the tooth extracted, but extracting teeth causes bone loss and a missing tooth must be replaced with either a bridge, partial denture or an implant. If the missing tooth is not replaced, eating may be impaired, and surrounding teeth will shift. Root canal therapy helps save your natural teeth and eliminates the need for extraction.

Back to main articles page