Pella Dentist Answers Root Canal FAQs

What is a root canal?

A root canal is the channel that connects your body’s nervous system, blood vessels, and living tissues to the pulp center of the tooth. The root canal travels from the center of your tooth down each root, to the jawbone. Many root canals have accessory canals, or tiny branches of canals from the main channel. Additionally, root canals can be oddly shaped or partially blocked. This can create complications for root canal treatment.

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is a treatment that addresses infection inside the root canal. Also called root canal treatment, or simply a root canal, the procedure involves removing damaged nerves from inside the pulp center and replacing the void with thermoplastic gutta percha. Root canal treatment removes the internal infection causing toothache and builds back the tooth strength.

How do root canals become infected?

Your tooth is comprised of several layers which each serve a different purpose. The outermost layer, the enamel, protects teeth from decay and infection. Once eroded, the enamel becomes weakened and the soft inner structures of the tooth are vulnerable.
When cavities go untreated, the decay seeps into the tooth, past the dentin, a soft layer made of tiny tubes, to the pulp center. Since the tooth pulp is filled with nerves, blood cells, and living tissue that nourish the tooth, when this section is compromised, you may feel extreme toothache.
In addition, internally infected teeth may become brittle and crack of chip more easily. Even worse, untreated internally infected teeth can lead to dental abscess. This involves infection travelling to the jawbone, creating extreme pain and swelling and possibly an irreversibly damaged tooth.

An Invitation for Your Family

Dr. Jeffery Allen provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella, IA. Please see the map for directions.