For many of us, the idea of having a root canal procedure makes us a little uneasy. However, this routine procedure becomes far less intimidating once you understand how common it is and how helpful it can be in keeping your smile healthy and beautiful. While root canals often get a bad rep for being painful, the only thing that is actually painful about them is the tooth decay that creates the need for the procedure in the first place. Once your root canal is finished, your tooth will be healthy again and your mouth will be pain free!
Here, we’ll explain the root canal procedure to you step by step to show why this common treatment is truly nothing to fear.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
A root canal procedure is most likely to become necessary after a severe cavity goes untreated, but other potential causes include gum disease and trauma to the tooth.
When dental pulp inside a tooth becomes exposed due to a large cavity or other cause, it can develop into an infection or become damaged. The dental pulp contains blood vessels and tissue that nourish the tooth during development and connect to the nerves. When damaged or infected, the pulp breaks down and makes way for bacterial growth within the tooth, which can lead to a variety of more serious problems.
Because the dental pulp is not vital to the tooth’s function once fully formed, an adult tooth can survive perfectly fine without it. A root canal procedure is used to remove the pulp and seal the tooth to prevent further damage from occurring.
How Does a Root Canal Work?
While root canals are very common, they are complex procedures that require the work of an experienced dentist. To begin, your dentist will likely take an X-Ray of the affected area to make sure the infection is contained within the tooth. Your mouth will be numbed with a local anesthetic, which will make the area completely numb. You may feel slight pressure, but nothing more l than you would experience when getting a regular filling. Once your mouth is numbed up and your tooth has been prepped with a clamp and a rubber dam to keep it dry, your dentist will create a small hole in your tooth that reaches from the enamel to the pulp. They will then use small files to remove the infected pulp, decayed tissue and bacteria and shape the inside walls of the root. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned out, it must be sealed.
Depending on the nature of your root canal, your dentist will know whether to seal the tooth the same day, or insert a temporary filling and wait a week or so while the tooth heals from the infection. The entire procedure should only take about an hour.
If your tooth has acquired severe decay, you may also need a crown or some other restorative measure to keep it protected in the future. While you might experience a bit of soreness or sensitivity for a few days after your root canal procedure, it should be perfectly manageable with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Say Goodbye to Pain and Hello to a Healthy Smile
At Daxon Dentistry, restorative dentistry is one of our specialties. We provide a variety of procedures to relieve your pain and restore your smile to pristine health and beauty. If you’re suffering from an infected cavity or another dental condition, give us a call or request an appointment online today.