Enough about me, let's talk about my better half's adventures! He recently started his pre-clinical endodontics course - root canals and stuff - and did his first root canal on an extracted real tooth. So gross. But he seems to like it okay, which is good because that's what he does all day, every day.
He brought home some of the x-rays he had taken throughout the procedure and explained all the steps to me. Most of it went right over my head, but I love his enthusiasm about it all.
The first x-ray below is in the upper left corner, then the steps proceed to the upper right, lower left, and finally the lower right. Like you're reading a book.
And here is the finished shaped, cleaned, and filled canal.
See that white tube in the middle of the tooth? That's what he did. He says it's only his first attempt so don't judge him (as if I can tell a good root canal from a bad one!).
I'll let him explain the purpose of it all:
"In the center of a tooth is the pulp, which is where the blood vessels and nerves that keep that tooth alive are found. When the pulp gets infected it can cause a lot of pain because it swells, and since it is in a confined space with nowhere to expand, it really hurts. When the infection becomes too serious, the pulp isn't able to heal itself so the infected pulp has to be removed and then the space where that pulp was needs to be filled to seal off the tooth from further infection. Thus, a root canal. A dentist makes a hole in the tooth to access the pulp, cleans, smooths, and irrigates the canal where the pulp was, and then fills that canal to prevent future infection and to allow the patient to keep their natural tooth, rather than getting it pulled."