Endodontic treatment, also called Endodontic therapy or root canal therapy, treats the inside of the tooth. To understand a root canal procedure, it helps to know about the anatomy of the tooth. All teeth have the same general structure and consist of three layers.

-The enamel, which is the outer layer, is the hardest tissue in the body.

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-The dentine, which is the middle layer and less hard.

-The pulp, the innermost portion of the tooth which consists of cells & tiny blood vessels. The pulp occupies a cavity located in the centre of the tooth called the pulp chamber and extends almost the whole length of the tooth through the pulp canal. These canals are usually narrow and communicate with the body’s general nutritional and nervous systems.

Why is a Root canal treatment needed?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

What does it involve?

During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a filling, as a dead tooth is more brittle, it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown  to provide extra support and strength to the tooth. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other.

The Signs of needing Endodontic treatment include: pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gum tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.

Dr. Isabel Gonzalez
(General Dentist)
Bahrain Specialist Hospital