You’ve probably heard about root canals as dental procedures that people try to avoid at all cost. But what exactly are root canals and how are they performed? Here, we’ll explain all that and more.
What Is a Root Canal?
Root canals are dental procedures that are meant to save or repair a decayed or infected tooth. In a root canal procedure the decay or infection is removed from the tooth and then the inside is cleaned and sealed. This allows the tooth to remain intact while the danger of decay or infection is removed. The root canal itself is the natural cavity within the center of the tooth and the pulp is the soft area inside of the canal and the nerve lies within the root canal.
When Is a Root Canal Needed?
Root canals are needed when there is a infection within the tooth. When the pulp of the tooth becomes infected due to bacteria from a severe cavity or even an injury. If a cavity is left untreated, it can cause such extreme decay that a root canal is needed. A root canal is needed because if the infection is not treated it can cause an abscess, a pus-filled pocket located at the roots of the tooth. Some other results of not receiving a root canal are swelling in the face, neck, and head, bone loss at the root, and a lost tooth.
How Are Root Canals Performed?
In a root canal procedure, treatment is often done over two visits to the dentist. The first step is for your dentist to numb your tooth so that you won’t feel any pain during the root canal. Then, your dentist will use a small dental drill to reach the inside of your teeth by drilling a hole in the top of the tooth. Then, the damaged pulp will be removed with a small file. That file will also be used to shape the inner chamber of the tooth and the root in order to irrigate the canal so the leftover pulp can be washed away. Often an antimicrobial solution is put in the canal in order to kill any remaining bacteria left in the chamber. After everything is cleaned out and dried, the canal will be filled with a rubber-like material called gutta percha. A temporary filling will then close the opening to the tooth so that in a few weeks you can get a permanent crown placed which will perfectly match your teeth. Once the crown is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary filling and place the crown.
If you have any other questions about root canals or think you may need one, contact us today!