An infected tooth can be the source of unimaginable pain and discomfort. Root canal therapy or RCT is a general dentistry treatment that removes the infection and nerves of the tooth, providing relief. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about RCT. Understanding how the process works helps put to rest the myths surrounding this tooth-saving procedure.
Decay begins on the outside of the tooth as acids formed as byproducts from bacteria eat away the enamel of the tooth. Enamel is harder than bone and therefore not easy to penetrate. This is why regular visits to the dentist are so important. Cavities can be caught early before they have an opportunity to become severe problems.
Once the enamel has been breached, the decay then begins to eat through the next layer of the tooth. This layer is the dentin, and it is much softer than enamel. Because of this, decay spreads faster through the dentin. As infection nears the pulp, the tooth may become sensitive to the different temperatures of food and beverages.
The pulp of the tooth contains the nerves. When the nerve tissue is attacked by decay, it begins to die. In the process the tooth becomes infected. An abscess forms at the base of the root where the nerves enter the tooth and the surrounding tissues begin to swell. At this point, the tooth must either be extracted or if possible, RCT can save it.