In the past, a root canal was known to be an incredibly painful and uncomfortable procedure. Thankfully, that is not the case anymore. Modern techniques and technology have helped root canals evolve into relatively comfortable treatments that often require no more than one or two trips to see us.
The goal of a root canal is to save a tooth that is severely infected. During the procedure, bacteria and dying or dead tissue are removed from inside the tooth.
When Should Get a Root Canal?
Typically, root canals are recommended or needed when there is an infection deep within the tooth. The pulp inside the tooth can become infected with bacteria because of an injury or because of a severe, untreated cavity. If left untreated, the infection can become so severe that the tooth requires removal. If we have already recommended you get a root canal, here is what you can expect during and after the procedure.
What to Expect During the Root Canal Procedure:
Root canals are typically performed in four steps, over the course of two visits.
1. The tooth will be numbed using local anesthesia. It’s common to feel a bit of a pinch in the area when the needle goes in. After the tooth is numb, we may insert a small sheet of rubber that isolates the tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure. (Not painful)
2. We will then use various tools, such as a small drill, to access the inside of the tooth by creating an opening in the top portion of the tooth. Next, we will use small files to clear away the damaged and diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth. We will also use the files to shape the inner chamber of the tooth and root and might irrigate the chamber with water to wash away any remaining pulp. We might also put an antimicrobial solution in the chamber to kill any remaining bacteria and reduce the risk for further infection. (So that hopefully you never have to go through the procedure again!)
3. Once the chamber is fully cleaned and dried, we will fill it with a rubber-like material called gutta percha. We will then close the opening in your tooth with a temporary filling, while you wait for the permanent crown.
4. After a few weeks, we will finish the treatment by placing a permanent crown or a similar type of restoration on the top of the tooth. Depending on the condition of your natural tooth, the dentist may need to place a small supporting post inside of the root chamber, to make the crown or restoration more stable.
Following the Root Canal Procedure
Following a root canal, it is vital that you take good care of your teeth and gums. You might need to schedule an additional visit with us to X-ray the treated tooth and to make sure that all signs of infection are gone. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing each day. With care and attention, a tooth following a root canal can stay healthy for the rest of your life.
If you want to make an appointment us, click here.