If you've never had a root canal before, you may wonder what the process involves. You may even be a little apprehensive about the procedure, as some patients often are. This article will shed some light on root canal therapy by explaining what happens during the procedure.
Sometimes, especially when a molar tooth is to be treated, a dentist will x-ray a tooth before they begin root canal therapy. This is so they can get a clear view of what's going on inside a tooth.
Although root canal treatment does sound painful, it isn't. This is because dentists administer a local anesthetic to the gum tissue surrounding the tooth to be treated before they begin. This means you don't have to fear pain before your appointment.
During root canal treatment, the treated tooth needs to remain dry and in a sterile environment. Endodontists achieve that by placing a rubber dam over and around the tooth that they plan to treat. The dam will prevent saliva from reaching the tooth during root canal therapy.
Opening and cleaning
Once the tooth is ready for treatment, the dentist will use a small drill to create an opening in the biting surface of the tooth. The drill used for this purpose is only small. This ensures that your tooth suffers as little damage as possible during the procedure. The opening in the tooth will extend to the pulp chamber, where the infected or necrotic tissue lies.
Once they have made an opening, the dentist will flush out the infected material and the abscess if one is present.
The root canals inside teeth are very small. So once the endodontist has removed all of the infected or necrotic tissue from the canals, they will enlarge those canals, using some tiny files. This enlarging process is necessary in order to fill the tooth to prevent reinfection.
Because this process can take time, your dental appointment may cover two appointments. If your treatment does require two appointments, your dentist will fill your tooth with a medical solution to keep bacteria at bay, and then cover the tooth with a temporary filling or crown.
Filling or crown
The final step of root canal therapy is to seal the tooth. If a tooth has minimal damage to the outer surface, then a filling may be sufficient to seal the tooth. But if the dentist feels that a tooth is weak, they will cover the tooth with a crown to provide optimal protection.
For more information on root canal treatment, contact a professional near you.