A root canal is a remedy rendered to repair and protect a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of extracting it. It has acquired the name because the procedure involves cleaning the canals from within the tooth’s root. The treatment acquired a dreadful reputation earlier because of the pain it caused but advances in dentistry and local anesthetics have ensured most people do not experience any pain undergoing this treatment but have more trouble living with a decayed tooth. The only alternative to this treatment is extracting the damaged tooth and replacing it with a removable partial denture, bridge, or dental implant.
The dental pulp forms the soft center of the tooth and extends from the crown to the tip of the tooth’s tooth in the jawbone. The pulp contains connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity bacteria can infect the pulp. When it is not treated the bacteria and the decaying material can cause a concerning infection or tooth abscess leading to the death of the pulp, bone loss, and loss of the tooth. The symptoms affecting you may be swelling around the neck and face, a hole in the tooth, toothaches, gum swelling and sensitivity to temperatures.
The steps to avoid this treatment will be to treat the cracked tooth or any teeth cavities immediately when they are detected. Dental anxiety may encourage you to put off your visit for the treatment which could easily have been avoided if you had taken the care needed before the treatment was recommended.
Your dentist can also perform the treatment but will often refer you to an endodontist who is a specialist in this procedure. You may need a couple of visits to complete the treatment but in some cases, more visits will be required because some teeth are difficult to treat.
X-rays will be taken during your first appointment to determine the extent of the damage. After the damage has been assessed the dentist will schedule the procedure to provide the treatment.
You will be administered a local anesthetic to control the pain which may be severe if you have an abscessed tooth.
A rubber dam will be put on your mouth to protect the tooth and keep it clean from your saliva. A tiny opening will be made through the crown to remove the decay and access the pulp chamber. The infected or diseased pulp will be removed by using small dental files.
The local anesthesia will keep you oblivious of what’s happening around you and the specialist performing the procedure will take all the steps needed to provide you adequate care.
After removing the diseased pulp the pulp chamber and canals are flushed and cleaned. The canals may be reshaped and enlarged to permit access for filling later on. The canals must be clean from the infection and dried before a permanent filling is placed. Medication will be put into the pulp chamber and canal to clear out any infection and the tooth will be left open for several days to drain.
If the infection in your tooth has spread you will need a prescription for antibiotics. If the procedure required multiple visits a temporary filling will be placed on the crown to protect the tooth and prevent saliva and debris from entering it. You must avoid chewing or biting with the tooth until it has been treated and restored.
After the canals are cleaned and dried the interior of the tooth needs to be filled. You will not need additional anesthesia for this step and if you had a temporary filling placed it will be removed to gain access to the inside of the tooth. A rubber compound will be used to fill the tooth followed by a dental filling to ensure the canals are protected from saliva.
Your tooth will be restored with a crown after the treatment is over. The new crown will work normally and also have a cosmetically pleasing appearance. If you maintain good oral hygiene your restored tooth will last you for a lifetime.
You may experience some discomfort during the first few days after the procedure which can be controlled by over-the-counter pain medications. However, if you come across an emergency situation where the pain persists for over a few days you should be talking to your dentist or endodontist for a remedy.