What is a Root Canal?

What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat an infected, painful tooth. The condition necessitating a root canal is a specific type of infection in the mouth that begins from the crown of the tooth and extends to the roots embedded inside gums and bone. The infection requiring a root canal usually affects soft tissue commonly called the dental pulp.

Microbiological Aspect of Dental Health
The dental system is rich in microbiological flora and consists of microorganisms that could prove to affect the oral health. These microorganisms are generally found in food constituents and could have negative as well as positive effects on the tooth system. According to a study, probiotic bacteria used for the improvement of gut health could also prove to be beneficial for oral health.

The Root Canal Treatment
A dental pulp consists of a number of blood vessels. When the dental pulp gets infected due to the invasion of pathogenic microbes. It becomes quite essential to remove this infected pulp as it could result in a number of symptoms that includes an extreme sensation of pain while eating or drinking, swelling of the gums, the formation of pus in the gum area, loss of bone density at the tip of the root as well as a significant change of color of the tooth. Thus, a cleaning therapy which removes the infected pulp and seals the interior portion of the tooth is carried out. This therapy is known as a root canal treatment. X-rays of the area must be carried out before performing a root canal in order to diagnose the condition as well as obtain the appropriate length for the tools used in the procedure.

Root canal treatment involves the removal of dental pulp as well as nerves present in the area of the root canal. The decayed nerves are responsible for producing the sensation of pain to the tooth. Thus, it’s removal could result in a substantial decrease in the symptom of pain caused due to the infection.

The procedure of the root canal treatment includes the building of a hole in the problematic tooth through which the pulp, decayed nerves as we, as well as wastes associated with it, be removed. It should be noted that this process is carried out under dry conditions without the involvement of saliva. This cleaning procedure is carried out by scraping as well as scrubbing the sides of the root canal with the help of endodontic files which are a kind of surgical instruments. Sodium hypochlorite solution or distilled water is used to flush out the waste materials removed with the help of endodontic files. After the cleaning procedure, the hole is then sealed by placing a specific type of material used to prevent bacteria from re-entering the canals. The interior portion of the tooth is sealed with root canal sealing cements which proves to be antibacterial. The sealing up of the decayed portion is carried out in order to avoid re-infection and healing to take place.


Haukioja Anna, “Probiotics and Oral Health”, European Journal of Dentistry 2010.
W Saunders, “Latest concepts in root canal treatment”, British Dental Journal 2005. visited on 25 January 2019. visited on 25 January 2019.