Root canals have a negative reputation; however, they make it possible to avoid extraction and save a tooth that is badly decayed or severely infected. During a root canal, the pulp and nerve are removed from inside the tooth, then the area is thoroughly cleaned and sealed.
Why is a Root Canal Necessary?
Once the pulp or nerve tissue of a tooth is damaged by a cavity or other issue, bacteria quickly reproduce in the pulp chamber and cause the tooth to break down. This can lead to infection or an abscess.
Without treatment, swelling and infection can spread to the gums, jawbone, neck, or head. An untreated tooth with damaged nerves can even result in loss of part of the jawbone. Eventually, the remaining parts of the tooth fall out and the infection spreads to other teeth, causing more damage.
Once decay reaches the inner root canal and the nerve pulp of a tooth, it is critical that the tooth is treated with a root canal or extracted.
Root Canal Procedure
We have the knowledge and expertise to help patients requiring a root canal to save a tooth. While the exact steps of the procedure may differ slightly from case to case, these are the general steps involved:
- Before the procedure, X-rays are taken to show how the root canals are shaped and if there are signs of infection in surrounding areas.
- Next, local anesthesia is administered to enhance comfort during the procedure; however, this may not be necessary because the nerve is dead.
- A rubber dam is then placed around the tooth to keep the area dry during the procedure.
- Then, an access hole is drilled into the tooth so that all of the decayed nerve tissue, bacteria, and other debris can be removed. This part of the process is usually the most time consuming because the root can be deep. Everything must be cleaned and sanitized.
- Once that is accomplished, medication may be placed into the tooth if signs of infection remain. In that case, the patient may need to return in one week, or the tooth may be sealed right away.
- Finally, the access hole is filled.
Some patients require further restorative treatment such as a crown, a crown, and post, or another type of restoration to keep the tooth strong and restore its function. This is all discussed before deciding on a root canal as a treatment plan.
How Does it Feel During and After a Root Canal?
Because the nerve of the tooth is dead, most root canals are relatively painless. In fact, local anesthesia is used more to ease the patient’s mind or in cases where the infection is present.
Most people who have a root canal say that it feels no different than an ordinary filling. After the procedure, the area may be sore for a couple of days. If infection or pain were present before the procedure, the soreness may last longer.
In our experience, most patients are able to return to normal daily activities the day after their procedure.
Root canals are extremely successful at saving the natural tooth and many dental insurance policies offset the cost of the procedure. Our experienced and knowledgeable team will ensure that your root canal experience is comfortable and successful.