Steps for Getting A Root Canal
Root canals are no fun, but millions of teeth are treated and saved every year with root canal treatments. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment, which means it treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
Even though root canals can be scary, our dentists walk you through each step and answer all your questions. Keep reading to learn more about the steps of getting a root canal.
Before Treatment Begins
When you arrive at your dentist’s office, you can first expect your dentist to go over any X-rays that have previously been taken to prepare for the procedure. Then, they will administer a local anesthetic using a small needle to numb the area. You may feel a slight pinch, but there is very little pain when the anesthetic is administered. The numbing sensation will take effect almost immediately.
Once numb, the dentist will place a dental dam, which is a small rubber sheet, over the affected tooth to protect and isolate the area. This will keep the tooth clean and dry during the procedure.
During Root Canal Treatment
The root canal treatment itself will take about ninety minutes. Using a specially designed drill, your dentist or endodontist will create an opening in the top of the affected tooth, which will fully expose the top of the tooth pulp, containing the tooth’s damaged nerve and blood vessels. The doctor will then remove tooth pulp from the inside of the tooth and the root.
The space that the pulp occupied will then be carefully cleaned and widened shaping the inner chamber to accommodate a filling. The dentist will then irrigate the area with a variety of solutions to wash away any remaining pulp. The tooth and surrounding area will be thoroughly dried before moving onto the next step.
To prevent infection, an antimicrobial medication will be put on to the root canal. The majority of cases the tooth canals will now be filled with a biocompatible material. The material used is typically gutta-percha, a rubber-like material, that seals to the tooth with an adhesive cement and helps prevent further infection.
Finally, a temporary filling is put in place on top of the tooth to provide protection from food and debris until a permanent filling or crown can be placed. In some cases, your dentist may be able to skip this step and place a permanent filling in the same appointment.
After Root Canal Treatment
Once the root canal procedure is completed, you’ll need to make sure you take extra precautions with the treated tooth. You may experience sensitivity or mild discomfort in the area for a few days- you can use over the counter pain medicine such as acetaminophen. If significant pain or swelling continues, call your dentist. You will most likely have a follow up appointment with your dentist to restore the tooth or remove the temporary filling and place a permanent filling.
After the root canal treatment and restoration with a filling or crown has been completed, your tooth can now provide normal, healthy function. We’re happy to help with any questions you have. Call one of our three locations to schedule an appointment.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure used to save a tooth that has become infected or injured. The procedure can remove damaged tissues in the tooth and prevent future infection, but is it really worth it? We will examine the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide if a root canal is right for you.
Cons of Having a Root Canal
While root canals are pretty common, there are some drawbacks to having this procedure done. One of those drawbacks is that it might weaken the tooth. Dentists have to drill through the tooth in order to get to the pulp, and additional decay might have to be removed. If the tooth is too weak to function, the dentist will add a crown to it, which will strengthen the tooth and allow the patient to use it like a natural tooth.
Another disadvantage of having a root canal is the time it takes in order to get one done. In most cases, a patient will only need to go to the dentist once to get this procedure done. However, two to three appointments are required in complicated cases where the infection or damage is severe. Also, patients might need two to three visits to get root canals on upper first molars. Upper first molars have three to five root canals, and each one must be treated, which takes longer to complete.
Root canals can also cause discomfort to the mouth and jaw, as it will have to remain open the entire procedure.
While there are some cons to having a root canal, there are also some advantages.
Pros of Having a Root Canal
One of the advantages of getting a root canal is that it keeps the natural tooth. Dentists remove the infected pulp tissue, clean out the root canal and replace it with filling material. Because the patient gets to keep the natural tooth, they don’t have to worry about bone loss. The tooth’s root will also continue to stimulate the bone, so the patient can keep their natural smile.
Another benefit of having a root canal is that it stops the tooth pain. Having an inflamed or infected pulp can be pretty painful and can make it difficult to function in everyday life. A root canal cleans out the infected pulp and antibiotics are used to treat the area if needed. Once everything is healed, the toothache will be gone!
If you choose to have a root canal over a tooth extraction, it helps prevent gaps in your mouth. Gaps can lead to alignment issues, which can change your smile and make it difficult to eat. With a root canal, your tooth stays in place so you don’t have to worry about those alignment issues.
Root canals are also more affordable than extracting the tooth and replacing it. You get to keep your real tooth and your real smile.
Like any dental procedure, there are pros and cons. It’s always a good idea to talk with your dentists if you think you may need a root canal. Call us today and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment with you.