The Layers of a Tooth
To understand how a root canal works, it’s important to understand what the three layers of the tooth are and their function. Teeth are made up of three main layers:
The enamel makes up the outer-most layer of the tooth, which is the protective shielding of the tooth. Enamel does not replenish itself and can be worn away over time. Enamel is also what gives teeth their white color. To help keep your enamel healthy and strong, make sure to use toothpaste with fluoride, and ask us about our fluoride treatments.
Dentin is below the enamel and is softer, and yellowish in color. Dentin gives teeth a great deal of structural support and, like enamel, is made up of a mineral mixture that does not replenish, so when it’s gone or damaged, it’s not coming back.
The innermost layer of a tooth is the pulp, which houses the root of the tooth. The pulp is the biologically alive portion of the tooth.
What is a root canal?
When infection or trauma reaches the innermost layer of the tooth (the pulp), the only way we can save the tooth from having to be extracted is to perform a root canal. The goal of a root canal is to remove all of the infection from the tooth.
The most important part of any procedure here at Johnson Family Dental is ensuring your comfort. For root canals, we employ local anesthetics to ensure you don’t feel a thing, and we also offer a few different sedation options, like nitrous oxide, to help you feel calm and comfortable throughout the procedure.
We will use a special dental drill to remove all of the infection from the tooth until we reach the pulp of the tooth. We will remove all of the pulp and the root from the tooth, and rinse the inside of the tooth with a special antibacterial solution to prevent reinfection. We will fill the tooth with an inert material called gutta-percha, and finish the procedure with a filling, or a crown. If your tooth needs a crown, you may need to make a second trip to our office in a few weeks so that we can remove the temporary crown and place the permanent one.
If you think that you might need a root canal, or if you need to schedule a dental examination, please call us today at (509) 886-8833.