When a root canal takes place, is the tooth actually dead?

If you’ve done any research into a root canal, you know that the procedure involves hollowing out the tooth. But you may not know exactly what that entails.

The basics of a root canal

Root canals, at their most basic, are the removal of infected tooth matter from a decayed tooth.

To accomplish this, the dentist accesses the pulp through the top part of the tooth, removes infected pulp, cleans the interior cavity thoroughly, fills in the gaps with an inert material, and places a cap over the top of the filled tooth. The fixed tooth is then functionally the same as a regular tooth, just without the inner pulp.

That crown over top of the tooth is usually made out of porcelain or similar material, and the only time you should run into trouble is if that cap comes loose. That should rarely happen because the cap is held down with a very strong glue.

This procedure removes the nerve, the blood supply and all the internal pulp. The only thing left is the enamel, which is a non-vital part of the body (much like fingernails or hair). The tooth is completely dead after a root canal.

When your root canal procedure finishes, you shouldn’t have any trouble in the future unless the crown comes off. Your tooth no longer has organic material in it that’s connected to the rest of your body, so there’s nothing for infection to take hold of.

Living with a dead tooth

Unlike a dead tooth that occurs naturally, a root canal tooth is inert.

Dead teeth that occur naturally can cause problems because the pulp within still exists, and as it rots away it can cause pockets of infection that can attack the jawbone and even cause issues throughout the body.

Teeth that have had a root canal done should never have this problem. In fact, they prevent this problem from happening. If you’re worried about having dead teeth due to a root canal, don’t. It’s more important that you take care of any teeth with decay before they become a problem in the first place.

Dead tooth pulp is a problem. But without the pulp, the tooth is fine. Make sure you get your teeth taken care of sooner rather than later for the health of your entire body. Come visit our practice if you have any dental problems and see what we can do for you.