A root canal treatment is used to repair a tooth that has become infected or has decayed. Here is how this procedure is performed so that you can know what to expect when you visit a dentist.
In some cases, there may not be any symptoms that a root canal is required. However, in other cases, you may experience sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks, severe pain, swelling, tenderness, or a bump on the gums. Only your dentist can diagnose this condition so it is important that you seek out medical treatment right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
If it is determined that you will need a root canal, the procedure will be performed over one or more visits to a dentist or endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist that specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth.
The procedure will start by first taking an X-ray in order to look at the shape of the root canals. The dentist or endodontist will look for the signs of infection in the bone that surrounds the root canal. The dentist will then inject some anesthesia in the area to numb it. Anesthesia may not be required since you may not feel pain due to the dead nerve. However, this is generally done to ensure that the patient won’t feel pain during the procedure.
Drilling and Removal of Tissue and Debris
Next, the dentist will insert a rubber dam around the tooth in order to remove saliva and keep it dry during the treatment. An access hole is drilled into the tooth. The next step is the removal of the bacteria and decayed nerve tissue, and pulp from the tooth. This process is done by using tools known as root canal files. Some of these files of increasing diameter are each placed into the access hole and worked until the full length of the tooth has been reached to thoroughly clean the inside. The dentist may also use water or sodium hypochlorite to get rid of any debris that remains.
Sealing of the Tooth
After the cleaning process is complete, the tooth is sealed. Sometimes, there may be a delay between the cleaning and the sealing process, especially if there is an infection in the tooth. This delay allows for the infection to be treated before the process continues. In other cases, the tooth may be sealed directly after the cleaning. If there will be a delay before the sealing, the dentist may apply a temporary filling to stop contaminants from going into the hole in the tooth.
Filling the Tooth
The next step in the process involves filling the tooth with sealer paste and a rubber compound. The exterior access hole that was drilled will receive a filling.
Depending on the level of decay of the tooth, the final part of the procedure may involve restoration of the tooth. Due to extensive decay or the size of the filling, a crown may be applied to protect the tooth from breaking.
If you have any additional questions about this procedure, make an appointment with one of our dentists to find out what you can expect. Your dentist can also advise you on how to care for your tooth following the procedure.