What happens during root canal treatment? Learn more about this quick, comfortable procedure that can relieve your discomfort and save your natural tooth.
It is important to act swiftly when a tooth becomes abscessed or badly decayed. If you don’t, the infected pulp can affect your overall oral health. An infected tooth may eventually be beyond saving.
A root canal is a treatment that enables a dentist or endodontist to restore teeth that would otherwise be lost. During the procedure, your dentist applies local anesthesia to ensure your comfort while they remove the pulp of your tooth.
Once the infected pulp is removed, your dentist replaces the root of the tooth step by step with a material called gutta-percha. If you are worried about your natural tooth being extracted, you should ask a dentist about saving your tooth with an endodontic treatment.
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
- Less Pain – Root canal treatment is less uncomfortable and emotionally traumatic than a tooth extraction. According to the American Association of Endodontists, a person receiving a root canal is six times more likely to describe it as painless than those who have a tooth extraction.
- Aesthetically pleasing – The crowns used during root canal treatments not only restore the function of the tooth, but also its appearance. Root canal procedures also naturally stop the spread of inflammation or infection.
- Economical – Endodontic procedures such as root canals are less expensive than replacing missing teeth.
All About Root Canals
An endodontic treatment, otherwise known as a root canal, is an advanced dental procedure that is performed daily on patients. It is always a good idea to research a procedure and ask your dentist any questions you may have on your initial visit.
Does a root canal hurt?
Despite many misplaced fears, root canal treatment is relatively painless.
While some patients will experience some sensitivity, many patients describe the experience as painless. Having an infected tooth is often much more painful than this solution. Your dentist will discuss the best ways to make you comfortable and provide aftercare instructions.
How do you know if you need a root canal?
The only way to truly know if you need a root canal is to visit your dentist. If you have tooth sensitivity or pain in your mouth, you should speak to a dental professional immediately.
What to expect from root canal treatment
If you suspect you may need a root canal, visit your dentist immediately before it’s too late to save the tooth. There are several steps your dentist must take to prepare you for the procedure.
Fast facts about root canal therapy
It may seem as if this is a painful procedure since it involves the nerve of a tooth. In fact, a root canal will remove the nerve and relieve the tooth pain most people are experiencing. The term root canal actually refers to the part of the tooth that is treated.
What are the steps?
There are several steps involved in completing a root canal. Most of the time, this can be performed in a single visit. Due to the intricate nature of the steps involved, the procedure may take a few hours.
1. Cleaning the root canal
During this first step, your dentist cleans the root canal. The dentist administers local anesthesia. Next, your dentist drills a hole in the tooth to remove the infected pulp.
2. Filling the root canal
Using small files the dentist shapes and cleans the hollow area. This decontaminates the root of the tooth and provides irrigation. The tooth is then filled and sealed with adhesive cement that fully protects the canal. Now that the nerve tissue has been removed and the tooth is dead the patient will experience no more infection, pain, or discomfort.
3. Adding a crown or filling
The tooth will now be more brittle and fragile than before the root canal. This is because the tooth is no longer receiving nutrients from the root below. A patient would not be able to confidently eat or put pressure in the tooth.
Your dentist will then either use a filling or a crown to reinforce the strength of the tooth. Your dentist will likely place a temporary filling and you will have a follow-up appointment to have a crown fitted.
Once installed a patient can treat the tooth like any other with confidence.
While complications are fairly rare, they do sometimes occur, causing the endodontic procedure to fail and necessitating a re-root canal procedure.
If an antibiotic is prescribed, patients must make sure to completely finish the prescription. Following your dentist’s instructions is necessary to avoid these kinds of complications.
Prevention of tooth decay that leads to the types of infections that result in the need for a root canal is fairly straightforward. First, use toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride. Next, make sure to make and keep regular dental visits for cleanings and checkups. Lastly, floss to clean between your teeth. If possible, do this after every meal.