Root Canals

What Is a Root Canal?

The root canal is the chamber containing dental pulp inside each tooth. The pulp is essential to the health of a tooth since it provides nourishment through its blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerves. When those nerves are exposed or sensitized by decay or other damage, they transmit sensitivity and pain signals to the brain.

Why Is It So Important to Save a Tooth?

Dentists have learned that saving every tooth by all means possible is essential to good oral health. When a tooth’s pulp is compromised by infection or bacteria, the tissues that support that tooth often become infected or, at times, abscessed. A root canal is often needed to save a tooth.

Because nerves and pulp are not necessary for a tooth to function as it should, the contents of the root canal can be removed. Once the nerve and pulp are removed, the area is cleaned and then sealed with a crown, so that further structural damage does not occur.

What Are the Reasons to Have a Root Canal?

  • When pulp becomes exposed
  • Cracks or fractures that compromise the root canal
  • Infection of the nerve or pulp
  • Deep fillings or other irritation from previous dental work
  • What Is the Process Like?

Once a patient decides after consultation that a root canal is for them, the process is usually completed in one visit. As in all types of procedures, some situations can be more complex than others. Dr. Karas wants his patients to rest assured that he takes as much time as needed to ensure each root canal is successful. The cost is the same, regardless if a root canal takes the usual one session or many sessions.

What Alternatives Are Available?

A holistic alternative to a traditional root canal is what is known as a “vital nerve cap.” This approach is what amounts to a permanent band-aid that covers the exposed part of a nerve by sealing it with a special dental material. Dr. Karas and his staff work with the patients to help determine which approach is best for them.

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