Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures that dentists handle every day. According to the American Association of Endodontists, over 15 million are performed in the U.S. each year.
This specialized endodontic procedure is an extremely effective method used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. Despite their reputation as a painful and uncomfortable experience, root canals are typically no more uncomfortable than getting a filling and are a necessary procedure to preserve the health of a damaged tooth.
If you’ve been told that you need a root canal procedure done, you may have questions or concerns. We’ve got you covered!
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about a root canal, including answering some of the most common questions about this procedure.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental treatment used to repair and save severely infected or decayed teeth. During this procedure, the damaged or infected pulp of a tooth is removed using specialized tools and the tooth is filled and sealed. The pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth, which contains the nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue.
This procedure is highly effective in helping to prevent further infection and damage to the tooth. It can also help restore the tooth’s normal function and appearance.
When is a Root Canal Needed?
Root canal procedures are necessary when the pulp of a tooth has been damaged or infected due to:
- Severe tooth decay
- Trauma (the tooth has been cracked or chipped)
- A deep cavity
- A large filling has caused damage to the pulp.
When the pulp is damaged, it can cause pain and discomfort, as well as increase the risk of abscess formation. This procedure helps to remove the source of infection, preserve the structure of the tooth, and prevent further damage or infection.
If left untreated, the infection can spread quickly and cause even more pain and damage to the surrounding teeth and gums.
In some cases, a root canal procedure can offer relief from the pain and discomfort associated with a damaged or infected tooth.
What to Expect for a Root Canal Procedure
In many cases, especially for those who battle with some level of anxiety around dentist visits, knowing exactly what happens for a specific procedure can make the whole experience much easier.
Once the dentist has used your latest x-rays and other digital imaging to determine that a root canal is necessary, the procedure is a relatively easy process:
#1 – Local anesthesia: You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area of the tooth being treated. In most cases, the dentist will use a needle to inject the anesthetic into the site to ensure that you have minimal discomfort during the procedure.
#2 – Access: A small access point will be created in the top of the tooth to allow direct access to the inside. This can be done using a drill or hand files.
#3 – Removal of infected tissue: The dentist will use special instruments to remove the infected tissue. This includes any infected or dead pulp, blood vessels, bacteria, and debris.
#4 – Cleaning: The inside of the tooth will then be cleaned of all bacteria, debris, and any remaining infected tissue. This is done using specialized instruments such as files, reamers, and handpieces.
#5 – Shape: The dentist will shape the inside of the tooth to prepare for the filling material. This is done using small files and reamers to widen the canals and clean the inner walls.
#6 – Filling: The open root canal will then be permanently filled with a special dental material. This material is usually a rubber compound called gutta-percha.
#7 – Seal: The dentist will then seal the access hole with a temporary filling, and a permanent filling will be placed at a later appointment. This is done to prevent harmful bacteria from entering the root canal and to protect the tooth from further infection.
#8 – Final restoration: Your dentist will place a crown or other restoration to protect the tooth and restore its appearance. This can be done using a crown, bridge, or veneer. This restoration will be custom-made to match your other teeth.
Do Root Canals Hurt?
Root canals are typically no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. During the procedure, you may feel some slight pressure, but the dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the area, so you should not feel any pain.
After the procedure, it is common to experience some level of discomfort in the area for a few days. This can be anything from mild soreness to sensitivity with hot and cold. But this is normally only temporary and should resolve on its own.
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce any discomfort. It is important to notify your dentist if you experience any significant pain or discomfort that persists. If this happens, your dentist may recommend a stronger medication if needed. In some cases, your dentist may also recommend a follow-up visit to make sure the procedure was successful.
Radomile Family Dental: A Local Dentist You Can Trust for an Effective Root Canal Procedure
Root canals are a common dental procedure used to repair and save a tooth that has become infected or damaged due to deep decay, injury, or trauma. By removing the infected or damaged tissue, a root canal helps to prevent the infection from spreading and can also help to alleviate any pain or discomfort associated with the tooth.
If your dentist has said that you need a root canal, it is important to get it done as soon as possible. Without treatment, the infection can spread beyond the tooth and cause more serious health issues.
When you need a root canal procedure done, you can count on the skill and expertise you’ll find here at Radomile Family Dental Care. For patients in Drexel Hill and the surrounding areas, our compassionate team has the training and experience to meet all of your dental health needs. We can help keep your teeth and gums as healthy as they can be and ensure that you have the bright, confident smile you deserve.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!