Yes, it’s not your imagination; the above image is that of a ‘wishbone’ from a chicken.
This wishbone is actually a little prop that I keep in my office. I use it to show patients what happens to a tooth when a root canal procedure is performed.
Under normal conditions, there is a vital nerve and blood vessels inside of every tooth in your mouth. The nerve and blood vessels keep the tooth healthy. They add moisture to the teeth which keep them healthy and strong.
The teeth are subjected to a lot of force and pressure when they contact one another, especially upon chewing. Therefore, they must be strong to withstand these forces.
When a tooth has a root canal, we remove the blood vessels and vital nerves inside of it…this causes the tooth to desiccate or dry out…much like the wishbone from a chicken which has been sitting out on a counter top.
It may be a good time to review the blog on root canals “Rrrroot Canal” which was posted on January 24th, 2012.
When the wishbone is first removed from the chicken, it contains a lot of moisture. When you try to break it (to see who will get the wish), it’s hard to break…it usually just bends. The moisture inside of it gives it its strength. However as it dries out, it becomes more fragile and can fracture quite easily.
The same principle applies to a tooth that has had a root canal. It becomes dried out and fragile. For this reason, we like to place a crown (cap) over it…the crown will protect the fragile tooth.
Please see the blogs “Dental Caps? Dental Crowns? posted on August 2nd, 3rd and 10th to refresh your knowledge of a crown.
To Conclude: It’s ok to break your wish bone, but it’s not ok to break your root canal treated tooth…..Take care everyone.
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist