A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat infected or inflamed pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels) in order to save the tooth from extraction. During the procedure, the dentist will remove the infected or inflamed pulp, clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth, and then fill and seal it. The tooth is then covered with a crown to protect it and restore its function. Root canals are typically performed under local anesthesia and can be done in one or multiple visits, depending on the case.
Root Canal Procedure
A root canal procedure is a dental treatment used to remove infected or damaged tissue from inside a tooth. The procedure is typically performed by an endodontist, a dentist who specializes in treating the inside of the tooth. During the procedure, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth, make an opening in the top of the tooth, and remove the infected or damaged tissue using small instruments. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and disinfected, and a filling material is placed inside to seal the tooth. The procedure typically takes one or more appointments to complete and is done under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort. After the procedure, patients may experience some mild pain or sensitivity, but this should subside within a few days.
A root canal procedure typically involves the following steps:
- An X-ray is taken of the affected tooth to determine the extent of the damage.
- The dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic.
- An opening is made in the top of the tooth to access the infected or damaged tissue inside.
- Using small instruments, the dentist will remove the infected or damaged tissue from inside the tooth.
- The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and disinfected to remove any remaining bacteria or debris.
- Once the tooth is cleaned and disinfected, the dentist will fill the inside of the tooth with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha.
- A temporary filling is placed in the tooth to protect it while the patient awaits a permanent restoration.
- After the temporary filling is placed, the patient will return for another appointment to have a permanent filling or crown placed on the tooth.
- After the procedure, the dentist will provide instructions for care and follow-up to ensure the tooth heals properly.
- It’s important to note that the time it takes to complete the procedure may vary depending on the complexity of the case, and in some instances, the patient may need to come back for multiple appointments.
Frequency asked questions (FAQ)
Do root canals hurt?
In most cases, root canals do not hurt. The pain associated with root canals is due to an infection or an irritated nerve and this pain procedure the root canal. The root canal procedure removes the nerve and cleans out the infection, therefore root canal usually gets rid of the pain.
How many visits are necessary for a root canal?
Usually, 1-2 visits may be necessary to complete a root canal.
Will my tooth change color following a root canal?
Yes, in most cases a tooth does darken over time following a root canal because the tooth is no longer vital; however, the tooth may be bleached internally or restored with a crown or veneer to correct this.
Will I be able to go back to work?
Yes, following the root canal procedure you will still have anesthesia; therefore, not experience any pain or swelling and getting back to work is not contraindicated.
Does that mean that I keep my tooth?
Yes, the root canal procedure is performed to allow you to keep your tooth. Only the nerve and blood supply to the tooth are removed but the rest of the tooth remains.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just extract the tooth?
Extracting a tooth may sometimes be more difficult and painful. Additionally when a tooth is extracted, the adjacent teeth start to shift and thereby cause more problems in the long run. Replacing that tooth will also be more costly instead of performing the root canal.
Will I need a crown afterwards?
In most cases, crowns are necessary following root canal procedure in order to restore the tooth to proper function and esthetics. Following a root canal the tooth becomes more brittle and more likely to fracture and having a crown performed afterwards prevents this.
Root Canal Treatment Price