What Do You Know About Root Canal Treatment?

do you know about root canal therapyTo many patients, the need for root canal therapy might be taken as bad news. While it can be unsettling, you can take heart in the fact that your tooth can still be saved. Treating a tooth’s root canal(s) is usually a last resort, prescribed only when a dental filling or crown alone will not suffice, but before the damage is severe enough to require extracting the tooth. To understand the importance of a root canal therapy, we answer a few common questions about the restorative dental procedure.

Questions About Root Canal Treatment

What are root canals?

The root of a tooth is its lower region, which extends underneath the gums and into the jawbone. Technically, the root’s canal is the narrow path within the root. It carries minerals to the tissues inside the tooth’s pulp, or center chamber. When a cavity (caused by tooth decay) progresses enough to reach the pulp, then root canal therapy is necessary to stop the spread of infection through the tooth’s root.

How do you treat root canals?

Tooth decay is a progressive infection of your tooth. It begins as a small cavity that grows larger as the decay spreads through the tooth’s main structure, called dentin. When caught early enough, the cavity can usually be treated by cleaning the infected dentin and restoring it with a dental filling. Root canal therapy, however, consists of accessing the tooth’s pulp chamber to clean away the infection, as well as clean and seal the root canal(s). After the procedure, we can further restore and protect your tooth with a custom-made dental crown.

Would it be better if I extracted the tooth?

Because of the common misunderstandings about root canal therapy, you might wonder if simply extracting the tooth may be preferable. Yet, if it isn’t necessary, then a tooth extraction may not be a good idea. Instead of removing just the infection, extracting the tooth means also removing the roots embedded in your jawbone. Over time, such a loss can cause your jawbone to lose strength and density, and your risk of further tooth loss significantly increases.


James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.