When you hear people talking about a root canal, you may be like a lot of dental patients and feel anxiety or fear. This procedure is one of the most common treatments, but one that people feel nervous about. Root canals can help relieve pain and serious dental conditions. It is important to understand when…
Step-by-step Guide to the Root Canal Procedure
Your tooth is severely damaged but can be saved, so your dentist recommends a root canal. You do not like getting a procedure without knowing what to expect. You want to know exactly what happens during a root canal. Learn the steps so that you will be prepared for your procedure.
Steps of a root canal procedure
A root canal procedure is relatively simple. The dentist needs to clean out the infected pulp and fill the canals. Patients usually need a temporary crown after the procedure. Go over each of the steps.
Preparing the area
The dentist begins by numbing the area. Injections are used to send the numbing agent into the gums and the tooth’s root. Once the area is numbed, the dentist places a dental dam in the mouth. This isolates the tooth that needs the root canal by covering the rest of the teeth in the mouth.
Accessing and cleaning the roots
Next, the dentist drills through the tooth to access the root canals and pulp chamber. The dentist uses instruments to clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. An antibacterial and antiseptic solution is used to clean and disinfect the canals. This eliminates the bacteria and treats the infection located in the canals.
Shaping the canals
The dentist must place a filling in the root canals. First, the canals must be shaped. The dentist will use tiny instruments to shape the canals, so they will be ready to receive the filling material. Once shaped, the canals are cleaned a second time.
Filling the canals
The dentist will use gutta-percha to fill the canals. This rubber-like material is placed inside the canals and then heated. The dentist compresses it, so it fits snuggly against the walls. The dentist adds adhesive cement to further seal the canals. Properly sealed canals keep bacteria out.
Filling to the access hole
The dentist must also seal the hole made to access the canals. The filling prevents bacteria from entering the tooth. The dentist also might need to place a post in a canal to strengthen the tooth. This is only necessary if the tooth is severely damaged and cannot support a restoration on its own.
Healing and antibiotics
The dentist might send the patient home with a prescription for antibiotics. The medication kills the rest of the infection. The patient will also have post-care instructions. It is normal to experience some discomfort for a few days after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medications usually alleviate the discomfort.
Adding the crown
If the root canal was on the back tooth or the tooth has significant damage, the patient will need to come back for a crown. The crown is placed around the treated tooth and adds strength and stability. The permanent crown is fabricated to match the existing teeth. Once placed, the tooth can handle the forces of chewing once again.
Do you need a root canal?
If you need a root canal, it is important to act quickly, so your dentist can save the tooth. Your dentist will prepare the area, access the canal and clean it. Then, the dentist will shape the canal, fill it and then fill the access hole. You will need to go home to heal and then you will come back, so the dentist can add the crown.
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