Dental pulp – is in the center of the tooth. Part of the tooth is inside the crown, and part of it is inside the root, in the root canal. The pulp consists of soft tissue and ondoplasts (type of cells). The dental pulp produces dentin, supplies surrounding mineralized tissue with moisture and nutrients, and senses extremes of temperature and pressure as pain. The pulp has a network of nerves and blood vessels.
When the dental pulp (or root canal area) is diseased or injured
If the pulp cannot repair itself (when it is injured or diseased) it dies. Pulp death can occur as a result of a deep cavity or a cracked tooth. Bacteria get in, either through a crack, a cavity or a loose filling, and eventually destroy the pulp. When bacteria penetrate through the root openings the bone will become infected. An infection in the bone will eventually weaken it and break it down, the ligaments around the tooth will swell and the tooth will become loose.
The patient with a pulp (root canal) injury will find his tooth is very sensitive to high and low temperatures, he may feel pain when chewing, and there may be a continuous throbbing pain.
Endodontic therapy (root canal therapy) saves the tooth and prevents further infection and pain
Without treatment the infection will spread and the tooth will eventually loosen and fall out. Some patients may prefer to have the tooth pulled out, especially if it hurts a lot. However, extracting a tooth may cause the surrounding teeth to become crooked. If your teeth are crooked you cannot usually manage a good bite. Endodontic therapy will usually stop the tooth from falling out and eliminate the pain.
When the dentist decides that the procedure has been a success, he/she may either add a filling or place a crown. This is to protect the tooth. A tooth that has the root canal filled is more fragile than a normal tooth.