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Root Canal Therapy | Anatomy Snippets

A human tooth is made up of a crown, neck and root. The crown is the outer part which is visible above the gum or gingiva; the neck is the region at the gum line between the crown and the root; and the root is the region below and within the gum.

The root canal system extends down from the crown of the tooth to the end of the root, containing the dental pulp. The pulp is the central chamber of the tooth, and is made up of soft tissue, nerves and blood vessels. These vessels gain access to the pulp via a narrow root canal (an opening at the tip of the root). A single tooth can have more than one root canal.

Without good hygiene, bacteria can infect the pulp, and infiltrate the tooth reaching the root canal through which the blood vessels and nerves enter. This causes the tissues around the tooth to become inflamed; the area affected can become red, swollen, and extremely painful.

The treatment for this inflammation is called Root Canal or Endodontic Therapy. This dental procedure is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, and involves the removal of the bacteria from the pulp and root canal, cleaning the root canal, attempting to salvage the tooth from tooth extraction. The root canal is then sealed with a filling or crown. It usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes, but the timing of the procedure and healing time depends on the complexity of the tooth being treated.

Question: Have you ever had root canal therapy?