A root canal is a procedure used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. The tooth is generally sensitive and has a very inflamed pulp, which is the living tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. It can become damaged due to trauma to the face, deep decay, cracks, chips, gum disease, and several other factors. Once the nerve in the tooth dies and becomes infected, it can lead to a painful abscessed tooth. In order to save the tooth from extraction, it must be treated by removing the infection from the root canals and sealing them to prevent further infection. This procedure requires local anesthesia for your comfort.
Patients are often concerned about how a root canal will affect them. The procedure is actually very simple and alleviates any pain or discomfort associated with the infection. After the procedure is complete, patients can return home immediately. Most patients are even able to return to their normal daily routine the next day.
A root canal procedure may require one or more appointments, depending on the patient’s overall health and the severity of their infection or decay. The first step is for your dentist to apply local anesthesia to the area around your tooth, so the procedure will be completely pain-free. Next, your dentist will make a small cut in the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals inside. These canals can be narrow or extended, but depending on the extent of the tooth damage, the dentist will clean them thoroughly with a disinfecting solution. Then they will fill the root canals and pulp chamber with gutta-percha or another material and seal the canal shut to protect the inner core of the tooth from further damage. The dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection. Finally, the tooth is filled with a temporary filling until your permanent crown can be placed on top of the tooth to protect it from breaking.
The best way to prevent the need for endodontic treatment of any kind is to practice good oral hygiene habits at home. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once, and see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
During a checkup, your dentist can assess the health and condition of your teeth to determine if they are healthy enough to pass on their own or if treatment such as a root canal is necessary. Your dentist might also recommend a root canal if you have tooth pain that doesn’t seem to go away or continues to worsen over time.
There are several signs that you might need a root canal, including:
If you are experiencing pain in a tooth that you think might need a root canal, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist right away for an examination and diagnosis.
For more information about root canal treatment, visit Englewood Dentistry at 334 Grand Ave, Englewood 07631, or call (201) 541-8111.