The root canal is one of the most commonly performed dental procedures around the world. Root canals are needed when the nerve of the tooth – known as the pulp – gets inflamed. This inflammation may be due to decay or other reasons such as trauma and tooth fracture. Most people dread root canal procedures, thinking they are the most painful and stressful experiences. However, while they involve some degree of pain, it is very tolerable. In addition, it’s more controllable than the severe pain of an inflamed tooth pulp. So, let’s explore a bit more. What is a root canal? How do we perform the procedure? Are there any other options?
Keep reading. We’ll answer all these questions to put your mind at ease.
1. What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure where the pulp of the tooth is removed, cleaned, and filled. Every tooth has pulp that is responsible for its nutrition and sensation. When that pulp gets inflamed – usually due to decay that was left untreated for a while – it causes severe pain. For that reason, the pulp needs to be removed and replaced with filling material.
2. How Do We Perform the Procedure?
The first step is to numb the tooth and the area with a local anesthetic. Afterward, we remove the decay with a dental turbine, and gain access into the root canal system. A series of small instruments – known as files – is used to remove all the remnants of the pulp. Then, we use a solution to clean and flush out the root canal system. Finally, we fill the clean and empty canals with a specialized filling and seal the original opening in the crown of the tooth with another filling.
Usually, we’ll place a crown over the treated tooth to protect it from further harm.
3. Are There Any Other Options?
When the decay reaches the pulp of the tooth and it becomes inflamed, you have 2 main options. Either a root canal or extracting the tooth entirely. Modern dentistry is all about conservation. For that reason, we consider it far better to perform a root canal and keep the healthy tooth rather than remove it and seek replacement with an implant, bridge, or denture.
4. How Much Pain is Involved?
You should expect very little to no pain during the procedure itself because the local anesthetic takes care of that. After the anesthetic wears off, expect some mild pain that can be easily controlled with over-the-counter pain killers. This should subside within 2 or 3 days.
So there you have it – all you need to know about root canals. Our staff is here to answer all your questions and alleviate all your concerns regarding root canal procures. Give us a call anytime!
Ready for your next dental appointment? Click here to schedule your appointment with one of our experienced local dentists!