A root canal is actually a nickname for root canal therapy. The root canal is the part of your tooth that houses the nerves and blood vessels of your teeth, surrounded by the soft pulp. When decay makes its way into the root canal, extreme pain and infection (abscess) is usually the result.
The Root Canal Process
Root canal therapy consists of opening a path through the hard outer enamel and inner dentin, into the canals that contain the roots. Amherst dentist Dr. Edwards then removes these roots and cleans out the canals to ensure all decay and infection is removed, using a series of files to scrape any remaining pulp away. This process is performed while you're numb, so you won't feel any pain.
Over time, root canal therapy was shortened to just "a root canal," even though that's really just the part of the tooth we're working on. So the next time someone asks you what a root canal is, you can explain it's both the part of the tooth and the treatment used when that part becomes infected.
Root canals have a bad reputation for being a painful procedure, but they're really not that bad. The abscess that comes before the root canal is the part that really hurts! If you think you may need a root canal or you have any questions about root canal therapy, don't hesitate to contact our Amherst dental office.