The Root Canal Procedure: What To Know
While this dental procedure can have a negative reputation among those who don't know better, those who understand the procedure realize that it's one of the safest and pain-free dental procedures out there. A root canal is usually performed to treat a damaged or infected tooth. During the procedure, the damaged or infected pulp of the tooth is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.
What to Expect with a Root Canal
Here's a step-by-step breakdown of what happens during a root canal:
- Diagnosis: The first step is to diagnose the need for a root canal. This is typically done by a dentist or endodontist (a specialist in treating the inside of the tooth). They will examine the tooth and take X-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection.
- Numbing: Before the procedure, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth using a local anesthetic. This helps to ensure that the patient does not experience any pain during the procedure. If you think you need more anesthesia than that, speak to our dentist prior to the procedure.
- Access: The dentist will make a small opening in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Removal of pulp: The dentist will use special instruments to remove the damaged or infected pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Cleaning and shaping: The dentist will use a series of files to clean and shape the inside of the tooth, removing any remaining debris and smoothing the walls of the canals.
- Filling: Once the inside of the tooth is clean and dry, the dentist will fill the canals with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. This helps to seal the canals and prevent future infections.
- Restoration: After the root canal is complete, the tooth will be restored with a filling or a crown to protect it from further damage. This may happen at a later appointment.
- Follow-up: The dentist will typically schedule a follow-up appointment to check on the tooth and ensure that it is healing properly.
A root canal is a common and relatively straightforward procedure that can help to save a damaged or infected tooth and alleviate pain and discomfort. It is important to follow the dentist's instructions for aftercare, such as avoiding hard or crunchy foods and taking any prescribed medications, to ensure a successful recovery. Speak to your dentist to find out more about root canal procedures.