Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Understanding Root Canal: OverviewEl tratamiento de conducto radicular: Generalidades

Understanding Root Canal: Overview

Most of us try to keep our teeth clean and looking nice. But we don't think much about what's inside our teeth-until something goes wrong. When problems develop inside a tooth, root canal therapy may be the only way to rescue it.

The Whole Tooth

The parts of a tooth include:

  • The crown. This part of the tooth is above the gumline. It has a hard surface for biting and chewing.

  • The root. Below the gumline, the root anchors the tooth to the bone.

  • The pulp. The middle of the tooth (the pulp chamber) contains the pulp. This soft tissue is made up mainly of blood vessels and nerves.

  • The root canal. This is the pathway from the pulp chamber to the nerves and blood vessels in the jawbone.

Pulp Problems

Pulp problems most often occur when decay or an injury damages the tooth's crown, exposing the pulp. Once this happens, the pulp becomes inflamed. Bacteria in the mouth can infect and kill the pulp. The infection can then spread throughout the pulp chamber and the root canal. If it reaches the tip of the root, it can invade the bone and, in some cases, form an abscess (pocket of pus). If this process isn't stopped, it leads to bone and tooth loss.

Choosing Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy can save a tooth whose pulp has died. The earlier the tooth is treated, the less pain, trouble, and expense you'll face. And though many people believe that root canal therapy is painful, this is just a myth: The treatment rarely causes discomfort.

An Overview of Treatment

Root canal therapy consists of removing the inflamed or infected pulp. The first step is to make an opening in the crown. The dentist then cleans the pulp chamber and root canals. These spaces are later filled with a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha, which acts as a permanent bandage. Finally, restoring the crown of the tooth protects the tooth from further damage or infection. The goals of treatment are to:

  • Relieve pain and other symptoms.

  • Stop any infection and prevent its spread.

  • Save the tooth from having to be extracted.

Risks and Complications

Root canal therapy has a high rate of success. If complications do occur, they are often minor and can be treated. Risks and possible complications include:

  • Pain or infection

  • Reaction to medication or anesthesia

  • Sore jaw joint and surrounding muscles

  • Separated (broken) instrument

  • Need for additional treatment, such as endodontic surgery

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Another satisfying experience at my dentist! The friendly and warm greeting received when I arrived for my appointment set the tone. The dental technician offered more of the same cordiality and professionalism. Dr. Sheng is very attentive and upbeat and I feel gives the best dental care possible. Have complete faith in his ability and assessment of my issue which he explained thoroughly and patiently answered all my questions. The whole experience was very positive and I was made as comfortable as possible which was very much appreciated! Thank you all for providing excellent dental care!!

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Do you often wake up with a headache or jaw pain?

If so, you may unknowingly be grinding or clenching your teeth. Most people who grind and clench, do so while they are sleeping and have no control over it. Grinding and clenching, known as Bruxism, can loosen or wear down teeth and could lead to a possible crown, root canal or implant. What Causes Bruxism? There are many factors that could lead to Bruxism. According to the American Dental Association Stressful situations, problems sleeping, an abnormal bite and crooked or missing teeth” can contribute to this problem. Good News Nightguards can help relieve some of the pressure and pain. When you see Dr Sheng for your routin...
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Andrew Sheng Dental
Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

1418 W. 25th Street
San Pedro, CA 90732
Phone: (310) 547-4413
Fax: (310) 547-1443

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