According to popular opinion, root canals are extremely painful. However, in actuality, this method of treatment is designed to save highly infected teeth. We can remove bacteria along with tissue that is either dead or dying from inside the tooth.
Thanks to advances in dental science, root canal procedures are now quite comfortable and rarely require more than one or two appointments.
When do I need a Root Canal?
We prescribe root canal procedures when a tooth has an infection at a deep level. Injuries and untreated cavities can lead to bacterial infections of the pulp inside the tooth. Unless we treat it, these infections can progress to a stage where we need to extract the tooth.
What is the Procedure for Root Canal Treatment?
Here is an explanation of what is typically involved in a root canal procedure. It is usually a four-stage process that takes place over the course of two dental appointments.
Dr. Polly Reese will use a needle to inject local anesthesia to numb your tooth. You may feel a slight sting in the affected area when the needle enters. Once the tooth is numb, Dr. Polly Reese may insert a dental dam. This is a small, flat piece of rubber that protects the tooth to keep it clean and dry while we perform the treatment.
Dr. Polly Reese will use a small drill to open up the top part of the tooth. Once the inside is accessible, he will use small files to remove the diseased and infected pulp. He also often uses the files to shape the inner part of the tooth and root. If any pulp remains inside the tooth, we may need to wash it out with water. Dr. Polly Reese also can insert an antimicrobial solution into the tooth chamber to kill off any bacteria that remain, lowering the chances of further infection.
After we are sure the chamber is clean and dry, we will fill it with is a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. Next, we’ll close the opening in the tooth with a temporary filling. The temporary filling will remain in place until you receive a permanent crown.
A few weeks after the root canal, we will place a permanent crown (or another type of restoration) on top of the tooth. We may need to insert a small supporting post inside the root chamber to stabilize the restoration, depending on the condition of your other teeth.
What Happens after the Treatment is Over?
It is necessary that you observe good oral hygiene following a root canal. We may call you in for another visit so we can take an x-ray of the affected tooth to ensure that it shows no signs of infection. This visit may or may not coincide with one of your biannual tooth cleaning appointments.
At home, make sure to brush and floss twice a day. Use a toothpaste that wards off germs for 12 hours. Also, remember to eat a healthy diet low in sugary foods and beverages. If you take good care of your teeth, a tooth that receives a root canal will remain in good health for a lifetime.
For more information, please contact our office at (224) 307-4977.