Explaining the Root Canal Process

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explaining the root canal process

If your dentist has recommended that you undergo root canal therapy, we’d totally understand if you were anxious and nervous at the thought of it. The truth, though, is that it’s a painless procedure that rescues teeth from infection and prevents unnecessary extractions. Here’s what you need to know about undergoing root canal treatment near you one step at a time.

The first step we’ll talk about is one that the staff and dentists at Queen Street Dental answer for concerned patients all the time. Will you be awake? As a general rule — and subject to important exceptions —you’ll remain awake but will be completely protected from pain. Your dentist will apply a local anesthetic to numb the tooth being treated and the gums around it. Your dentist will not start the procedure until the area has been completely numbed. How long that will take depends on how inflamed the pulp in the infected tooth is.

What are the exceptions to that general rule? If your procedure may be particularly complex or prolonged based on dental images of the affected teeth, or if you are a vulnerable patient or someone who suffers from significant dental anxiety, your dentist will explain sedation dentistry options. Options range from laughing gas (nitrous oxide), oral sedation, IV sedation and — in extreme and exceptional situations — even general anesthesia.

The next step in root canal therapy in Spruce Grove is the placement of a dental dam over the area to be treated. A dental dam is a thin sheet of rubber. A small hole will be made in the sheet through which the area being treated will protrude. Using the dam will isolate the tooth and gums being treated from the rest of your mouth.

A dentist near you will make a small hole in the surface of the infected tooth to allow the dentist to access the interior of the tooth, including the pulp chamber and root canals themselves.

Using specially designed implements and working through the access hole made into your tooth, your dentist will extract the infected and dead tissue from inside your pulp chamber and root canals. Once the tooth is emptied of infected material, your dentist in Spruce Grove will disinfect the root canals with antiseptic and antibacterial substances.

Your dentist will re-shape the canals inside your tooth with tiny and specialized instruments — all the while working through the access hole in your tooth while the area being treated is completely numbed — to prepare the canals to receive filling material and sealants. Once the canals have been reshaped, your dentist will clean them again to remove any debris.

Your dentist will use a substance called gutta-percha to fill the newly emptied canals inside your tooth. The combination of that gutta-percha and adhesive cement will fill and seal the once-infected canals of your tooth to prevent them from becoming reinfected.

A filling will be placed over the access hole that was drilled through the outer layers of your tooth. In extreme cases where the tooth has lost so much structure that it can not hold a filling, your dentist or endodontist may place a metal or strong plastic post in one canal inside your tooth to retain it.

Once the root canal procedure is complete, your dentist may give you a prescription for antibiotics to treat your pre-existing infection or to prevent the development of any infection. Your dentist will also provide you with detailed aftercare instructions to ensure you experience a quick and complete recovery without experiencing complications which are possible, but rare. In most cases, the soreness and discomfort experienced during recovery can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. In some cases, your dentist may prescribe some pain-killing medication.

Once your endodontist confirms that you have fully healed from your root canal surgery, the endodontist will refer you back to your general dentist to prepare for the placement of a dental crown over the tooth.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of a serious tooth infection, make an appointment with a dentist in Spruce Grove so a dentist can take steps to reverse and, if necessary, remove that infection before you need to have that tooth pulled. Tooth extractions can be prevented by undergoing successful root canal therapy performed by a dentist near you.