Most people fear root canal treatments, but they also don’t understand them very well, either. But the procedure is a lot less unpleasant than popular opinion would have you think, and it’s meant to prevent worse conditions from happening. Let’s dig a little deeper to find out what really goes on during a root canal treatment.
What are Root Canals?
The inside of a tooth is filled with pulp, which consists of tissues, blood vessels, nerves, and specialized cells that aid the tooth’s development. The pulp is connected to the blood vessels and nerves in the jaw by root canals. If a tooth becomes fractured or decayed, the pulp can get inflamed and potentially infected. If the pulp becomes infected, it can spread to nearby nerves, bone and teeth.
If this happens, better brushing won’t fix the problem. The inflamed pulp will try to swell up, but because it’s trapped inside the hard walls of the tooth it can’t. The inflamed pulp will instead get infected, resulting in permanent damage.
The only treatment is root canal therapy, whereby we remove all of the pulp and replace it with a rubbery filling substance.
What is the Procedure for Root Canal Therapy?
Most of the time, we can perform root canal therapy in only one appointment, but sometimes it will take longer than that. After we finish the treatment, we may need to perform additional procedures to restore the function of the affected tooth.
Dr. Crumpton will first take an x-ray of your tooth to gauge how long and wide its canals are. The next step is to numb the tooth with a local anesthetic. Then Dr. Crumpton will put a rubber sheet around it to prevent the bacteria in your mouth from infiltrating the tooth during the procedure.
Dr. Crumpton will use a dental drill to make a small hole in the tooth, then use special instruments to extract the pulp and reshape the walls of the root canals inside the tooth.
The next step is to use a bleach solution that will flush out the filing debris, disinfect the root canals and kill any bacteria. Finally, we will seal up the root canals and pulp chamber with a soft, rubbery material known as gutta-percha.
Because this procedure has us make a hole in the middle of the tooth to extract the infected pulp, we recommend a dental restoration after the treatment is completed. This restoration (usually a crown) will fill the hole and protect both the tooth’s exterior and the area treated by the procedure. Crowns also restore the appearance and function the tooth used to have.
It is normal to experience discomfort for three to four days after treatment, but this problem is treatable with over-the-counter pain medication and will usually go away after a short period. Contact us if you still have sharp pain five days after the procedure.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please give us a call at 817-678-7395.