The infamous root canal is an endodontic procedure that involves the removal of dental pulp in order to eradicate infection and inflammation. While the term “root canal” can inspire fear in the heart of the most stoic patients, the procedure is quite simple, and no more strenuous or uncomfortable than a routine filling.
Infections in the pulp can be caused by a variety of afflictions, including: decay, a chipped tooth, and even repeated dental procedures such as dental crowns. In other words – any trauma inflicted upon the tooth, whether it is visible or not can cause infection, pain, and the growth of abscesses.
A root canal removes the infected pulp and cleans the interior of the tooth in order to create a sterile, infection free environment. Once the area is disinfected, the inside of the tooth is filled with gutta-percha, a rubbery material that takes the place of the pulp. The tooth is then refined and restored with a filling, and sometimes a crown. Fillings and crowns seal the root canal and serve as a protective barrier so that the tooth may resume regular function.
Root canals save the patient’s natural tooth, which is regarded as the best option for infected pulp both functionally and aesthetically. This results in efficient mastication, sensation, and a natural appearance.
A root canal can be performed on any tooth, though there are procedural insurance code differentiations based on tooth classification:
D3310: Root canal – anterior.
D3320: Root canal – bicuspid.
D3330: Root canal – molar.