Essential Root Canal Terms

definitionAre you trying to make heads or tails of your upcoming root canal treatment? Do you find that the terminology is what causes you to stumble most as you do your best to figure out what to expect? Don’t worry – in addition to a comfortable treatment, we will provide you with the education you need for a clearer understanding.

About Your Dental Pulp

Your dental pulp is the tissue that lines your tooth (the inside, that is). This includes the tooth’s body and roots. Unfortunately, when it becomes inflamed due to damage or infection, we must clear this and all other tissue out of your tooth to prevent an abscess and additional problems.

“Root Canal” Versus “Root Canal Treatment”

Do you refer to this treatment as a “root canal” but then find yourself confused when we refer to a particular part of your tooth with the same term? Here’s what’s going on. Your “root canals” are the lowest chambers within your teeth – they rest beneath your gumline and house dental pulp. When we treat these canals it’s called a “root canal treatment.” Shortening the treatment name to “root canal” is acceptable – albeit a bit confusing at times!

Gutta Percha And Other Details

When we have completed the portion of your root canal treatment that includes removing the affected tissues from within your roots and your tooth, it is essential that we reseal the entire tooth (both your roots and the crown of your tooth). This will prevent bacteria from re-entering. We will seal your roots with a material called gutta percha – it has a rubber-like quality. We may also fill the remaining tooth tissue and then protect the tooth with the placement of a dental crown (artificial, hollow tooth).