Root canal treatment is intended to remove bacteria from infected teeth, prevent reinfection, and save the natural tooth. A modern root canal treatment is very similar to a routine filling and can usually be completed in one or two appointments, depending on your tooth's condition.
The root canal is the space inside the tooth that holds the dental pulp, which is a soft core found in teeth. The pulp extends from the tooth's crown (the visible part) to the tip of the root in the jawbone. Nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue are all found in the pulp. Bacteria can enter the pulp when a tooth is cracked, chipped, or has a deep cavity. The most common symptoms of a damaged pulp are tooth pain, swelling, and a burning sensation in your gums. Root canal therapy is a dental procedure that removes the pulp and seals the teeth after cleaning them.
Here’s everything you need to know about a root canal treatment.
Depending on the extent of the infection in your tooth, root canal therapy may require one or two appointments. A root canal usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete. The number of roots for each type of tooth varies. In most cases, incisors, canines, and premolars have one root, whereas molars have two or three. So, if you're having treatment on a larger tooth with multiple roots, it could take up to an hour and a half.
Your dentist may take a series of X-rays of the affected tooth before beginning root canal therapy to create a clear picture of the root canal and determine the extent of any damage. The procedure is usually done with a local anesthetic, which numbs the infected tooth and the gum around it.
Your dentist will use a drill to open your tooth through the crown in order to access the pulp. They will then remove any remaining infected pulp. At the same time, your dentist will be able to drain a dental abscess, which is a pus-filled swelling.
The pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned, disinfected, and shaped after the pulp is removed. The empty canals are then filled with gutta-percha, a flexible, rubbery dental material. If the treatment requires multiple sessions, your dentist may place a small amount of medicine in the cleaned canal between visits to kill any remaining bacteria before sealing the tooth with a temporary filling. At your next visit, the temporary filling within the tooth will be removed, and the root canal filling will be inserted, sealing the tooth and preventing reinfection.
Because root-filled teeth are more likely to break than healthy, unrestored teeth, your dentist may recommend a crown to protect the tooth. A crown is a cap that completely surrounds a natural tooth. To prevent tooth fracture after root canal treatment, a crown may be required.
Root canal treatment is virtually painless and often causes less discomfort during recovery than having your natural tooth extracted. Most root canal-treated teeth can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Because of the additional appointments required for a denture, bridge, or implant, tooth extraction may take longer than root canal treatment; additionally, the cost may be higher. Most dental insurance plans cover root canal therapy.
During the root canal procedure, your tooth and the surrounding tissue will be numbed with a local anesthetic. This anesthetic can take several hours to completely wear off. Chewing and drinking hot liquids should be avoided until the numbness has subsided.
Typically, root canal treatment recovery time is less than a week. Your tooth may be sensitive or have a dull aching sensation for a few days after your root canal procedure, but this is only temporary. Strong prescription pain medications are rarely required following the endodontic treatment.
Root canal treatment is often assumed to be a painful procedure, but the truth is that it is actually pain-relieving and will save you from permanent tooth loss or the agony of toothache. If you notice any of the symptoms of a bad tooth that requires a root canal, give us a call at Fountains Dental Care, and the best dentists in Chandler will take care of you!