There is a stigma surrounding root canals. Just mentioning the procedure by name strikes fear in some people. However, there’s no reason to be worried about this routine dental treatment. Educating patients about what happens during a root canal is the best way to combat fear.
Many people search for emergency dental care near me when they experience a toothache. There are several reasons why a dentist may order a root canal to treat tooth pain. Decay and facial injuries are the most common. Damage to the tooth makes it vulnerable to bacteria. Once an infection strikes the tooth’s nerve, a root canal is the only option to save it. Here’s what really goes on during this misunderstood dental procedure.
Step 1: Numbing the Mouth
Why are so many people scared of root canals? They assume the procedure is painful. Luckily, this is rarely the case. Dentists thoroughly prepare the mouth beforehand to ensure the patient doesn’t feel a thing. They begin by injecting a numbing agent into the gums and around the affected tooth. Once the mouth is completely numb, they will insert a dental dam to protect the surrounding teeth during the root canal.
Step 2: Removing the Pulp
The dentist will then open the tooth using a specialized drill. Once the dentist locates the chamber of the tooth, they will remove the inflamed pulp. After clearing out all the diseased tissue, the dentist will disinfect the chamber and rinse the canals to remove any residual bacteria.
Step 3: Preparing the Canals
Now it’s time to shape the canals. The dentist will use a drill and other instruments to carefully shape each canal. This step prepares it for a filling. Like before, the dentist will disinfect the entire area to ensure the tooth remains sterile.
Step 4: Adding the Filling
After shaping the canals, the dentist can fill them with gutta-percha. This rubber-like substance is extremely flexible, making it ideal for filling roots of all shapes and sizes. Once it’s in place, the dentist applies cement to seal the canals completely. Filling the canals will help prevent future bacterial infections.
Step 5: Closing the Tooth
With the gutta-percha in place, the dentist can now close the access hole. They will use a standard filling material, like composite or amalgam, to help reinforce the tooth. If the root canal was minor, this could be the last step. However, a restoration is often needed for severely damaged teeth.
Step 6: The Healing Process
Healing from a root canal is usually quick and simple. Most people feel normal after a few days. Some dentists may prescribe an antibiotic as a preventative. They will also send the patient home with post-care instructions. Slight discomfort is common, and the patient may take over-the-counter pain medications to alleviate any pain.
Step 7: Dental Restoration
Dentists often recommend placing a crown after a root canal, especially if the treated tooth was a molar. The crown will reinforce the tooth and protect it from cracking down the road. Crowns mimic the look and feel of natural teeth, and they fit on top of the treated tooth. Once the permanent crown is ready, the dentist will cement it into place.
Root Canals Save Teeth
Before root canals, dentists had no choice but to extract severely decayed or damaged teeth. However, this procedure makes it possible to save most teeth. While the process may seem detailed, it’s painless. After a root canal, the patient can enjoy their favorite foods without worrying about a sudden toothache.
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