If your dentist has recommended a root canal treatment for an infected or damaged tooth and you are slightly apprehensive about the procedure, educating yourself on the process can help to minimize any anxiety you may be feeling and allow you to be fully prepared for what to expect. While it is completely normal to experience mild anxiety prior to any dental procedure, it is important to understand that root canals are beneficial treatments that work to preserve tooth structure and relieve pain, which in turn allows for improved dental health. Read on to learn more about the process of a root canal treatment and what to expect during the procedure.
What is a Root Canal Procedure?
A root canal procedure is a dental treatment in which damaged or infected tooth pulp and nerves are removed by a dentist or endodontist. Once the source of infection is removed, the tooth roots are re-shaped, and the tooth is fitted with a dental crown or filling to create an aesthetically pleasing appearance and provide additional protection. While a common belief is that root canal procedures are extremely painful, the reality is that the treatment causes only mild discomfort, if any. The infected or damaged tooth is what actually causes pain, and root canal treatments provide sufferers with much-needed relief.
The Root Canal Procedure - Step by Step
During the procedure, the dentist first anesthetizes the tooth and surrounding tissue. Once the area is numb, a hole is drilled into the tooth crown and the dentist inserts a tool called a spoon excavator into the opening. The excavator safely removes the damaged pulp and tissue. After the pulp is removed, the dentist inserts a wire broach tool into the hole and removes pulp tissue that is located deep inside of the tooth pulp canal.
Next, the pulp canal is re-shaped with a dental file, followed by a thorough irrigation. Dental paper is then placed in the hole to soak up the remaining moisture. Once the canal is dry, the hole is packed with organic dental material called gutta-percha and sealed with standard dental cement. A temporary crown is then applied to the tooth. A permanent crown or filling is applied to the tooth once it has healed properly.
Following the procedure, it is important to follow the dentist's after-care instructions to prevent complications. Rinsing the mouth with salt water can help to prevent infection, and it is also important to maintain regular brushing and flossing habits. The dentist may also advise against biting down on the treated tooth until a permanent crown or filling is placed. It is imperative to contact the dentist if you experience side effects such as swelling or hives, as these symptoms can indicate infection or an allergic reaction to medication.
Optimal Dental Health
Maintaining optimal dental health is essential, as untreated issues can often lead to further complications. Root canal treatments are extremely beneficial to individuals with severely decayed or infected teeth, as the procedures work to eradicate pain and protect the teeth from additional damage. Talk to a dental office like Dentistry For the Entire Family to learn more about these important procedures.