A “root canal” is a common dental procedure that can cause immense pain in a person’s mouth just by hearing the word. If you have ever discussed dental care with another individual or scoured the internet for hours prepping for your own procedure, you have been exposed to a fair share of horror stories.
Have peace of mind knowing that the intention of a root canal is not to cause you severe pain unnecessarily. It is a last resort in order to save a tooth that has become so infected that any other treatment would have no affect on it. And thanks to the advancements in care, root canals have become more tolerable, only requiring, on average, one to two trips to the dentist from start to finish.
When is a root canal required?
If you have a cavity that goes untreated for long enough, the bacteria that has built up deep inside your tooth will become so infected that the only way to treat it will be to completely remove the infection. If a root canal is not done within a timely manner, it could result in a complete tooth extraction. Here is a breakdown of what a root canal entails:
How A Root Canal Is Performed
Every year, millions of teeth are saved from routine root canals. It may seem daunting, but the process is actually not that strenuous. Here is a step-by-step look into the root canal process:
Anesthesia is administered to the area in order to numb the tooth. When the tooth is numbed enough to proceed, the dentist will first place a “dental dam” over the area to follow proper sanitary precautions.
Small tools are used to create an opening in the tooth so that the dentist can gain access to its insides, which is where the infected pulp resides. The infection is cleared away using small instruments and water until there is no remaining pulp left.
When the pulp is gone, the chamber of your tooth will be completely empty. Once it dries, the dentist will fill it with a rubber-like substance before closing the opening that was left from step 1 with a temporary filling.
The final step of the process is waiting a few weeks until you can go back to the dentist to receive your permanent crown.
It should go without saying, but after receiving a root canal, you should place even more emphasis on proper oral hygiene. If taken care of, not only will the tooth that underwent a root canal remain healthy, but it will help you prevent any future teeth from becoming so infected that you are required to go through the procedure a second time. In addition to good oral hygiene, it is also important that you see your dentist at least once or twice per year!