Even whispering the phrase “root canal” can be enough to send a shiver of fear down the spine of the most hardened person. Why? Because the myth of how painful root canals can be has been pretty well spread and in some cases exaggerated. The truth is much less terrifying.
A root canal is simply a type of treatment needed when the root or roots of a tooth have been damaged, causing infection or inflammation. In most cases this is caused by either disease or by a large cavity. In some cases, an injury can be the underlying cause – especially in the cases of impact and breakage. Whatever the cause, a root canal is used to remove the infected pulp from inside of the tooth, halting the infection and eliminating pain and eliminating the pain and discomfort it causes.
The procedure begins by locating and identifying the tooth or teeth that will be receiving root canals. Next, the area is cleaned, dried and thoroughly numbed. Once the tooth or teeth are thoroughly numbed, we will make a small opening through the crown of the tooth to allow us access into the pulp chamber. When the teeth that need root canals are the incisors or canines – your front few teeth – we create that opening at the back of the tooth. Once we have reached the pulp chamber, we use a series of files to clean the infection and any unhealthy tissue out. We may irrigate from time to time to help us clean away debris and clear the path to the tissue that needs treatment.
Once all of the tissue in question is removed, the canals of each root are filled with a permanent material that helps to keep them free from infection or any potential future contamination. This material also helps to provide support by filling the newly hollow space. A small post may also be placed into the root in some cases where we feel that the tooth needs extra support. After we fill the roots themselves, we fill the tooth and you’re finished! In some cases, a crown may be placed for aesthetic purposes.
Root canals are actually quite straightforward and quick procedures. Cadena Family Dentistry takes extra care to be sure that your root canal experience is an easy one.
Remember, just because you have had the infected tooth taken care of doesn’t mean you do not need to continue with regular dental visits. A tooth that has had the root and pulp removed is still able to develop cavities and gum disease. This tooth will no longer be able to feel pain, though, and so signs of infection may not be visible are very easy to miss. Infection that takes root but is not detected is one of the leading causes of a patient losing a tooth after a root canal has been performed.