What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure that allows your dentist to save an infected or damaged tooth instead of extracting it.
The tooth pulp is the soft, inner core of the tooth and contains blood vessels and nerves. That is why the procedure is called a root canal. If the pulp gets infected with bacteria it can cause severe cold sensitivity and pain when chewing on the tooth. If the tooth is not treated soon, a serious infection can form, leading to pulp death, swelling of the face or gums, bone loss, or loss of the tooth itself.
Is a root canal procedure painful?
With dental advances and the improved numbing medicines and techniques we utilize, most patients experience little pain, if any, during a root canal. In fact, it would be more painful to not treat the tooth and live with the infection and symptoms. Our office provides sedation to allow you to sleep through the procedure if you desire maximum relaxation.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
The tooth cavity and any remaining fillings are removed from the tooth. Once this is done, an opening is created through the top of the tooth. The remaining infection is removed from each canal using a small instrument.
The chamber of the tooth is widened to remove bacteria that may be attached to the sides of the canal. We rinse the canals frequently with a disinfectant to clean out bacteria. Finally, our office uses a laser to kill bacteria that may still be present inside the tooth. The laser treatment is specific to our office as other offices do not provide this type of treatment.
Now that the infection has been removed, the canals are filled with a special paste and rubber compound to prevent future infections. The opening to the pulp is then filled to keep saliva from entering back into the canals. And the root canal procedure is now completed.
Often after a root canal, a crown might be recommended to strengthen the tooth to prevent future fractures or infections. This is because the tooth was already weakened by the fracture or cavity that was causing the pain or infection.
When everything is done, your tooth should look, feel, and work like a normal tooth!