In humans, the number of root canals in a single tooth may range between one to four. The teeth, which are located towards the back of the mouth are found to have more root canals. Root canals carry nerves and blood vessels to the pulp chamber. While the blood vessels supply nutrition required by the pulp, the nerves carry signals to the brain. The root canal inside a tooth can be compared to the pencil lead, which runs inside a pencil.
In case of an infection, the immediate response of the body is to send antibodies and white blood cells to the affected area to fight the bacteria or the causal agents. In such cases, the tissue of the area turns red and inflamed. In case of a root canal infection, there is no space for the antibodies and white blood cells inside the root canal. This can lead to a tooth abscess, which spreads to the bone tissue surrounding the tip of the root.
Causes and Symptoms
In general, damage to the root canal and the pulp chamber can result in death of the pulp. In that case, the tooth is prone to root canal infection. It can also happen that, bacteria enter the root canal or pulp chamber and cause infection. In short, such an infection can be caused by tooth decay, injury, gum diseases, and repeated dental procedures. It is said that, the initial symptom of a root canal infection is cold sensitivity, which can be followed by severe toothache. Initially, the tooth ache will be experienced while chewing or on applying pressure. This condition worsens to a full-time tooth pain, within a few days. Other symptoms include sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures, tooth discoloration, and swelling of the gums.
The term ‘root canal’ is often used to denote root canal infection treatment. In case of such infections, endodontic therapy is unavoidable. If left untreated, this infection can lead to complications. Root canal treatment is the dental procedure, that involves removal of the contents of the pulp chamber and the root canal, and filling the resultant cavity. The root canal and pulp chamber are emptied, cleaned, and decontaminated, before filling with some inert filling. If the infection has affected the crown, then the crown is also replaced. If you experience any symptom of root canal infection, consult a dentist at the earliest.