What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Your tooth is severely damaged, but your general dentist thinks it can be saved and recommends root canal therapy by an Endodontist. Let’s learn what to expect during root canal therapy and how to prepare for your upcoming procedure.
Root canal therapy (a root canal) is our specialty at Whitby Endodontics. An endodontic (interior of the tooth) root canal therapy can restore an infected tooth’s natural function and appearance. Contrary to popular belief, it’s typically no more painful than filling a cavity.
Our doctors will suggest root canal therapy if your cavity is deep enough to become infected and spread to the tooth’s nerves. Left untreated, a cavity this deep can become an abscess and may even lead to bone loss in your jaw as well as other health problems. Dr. Grossman or Dr. Geisler may also recommend a root canal for cracked or damaged teeth, especially if your tooth’s nerves are exposed.
Whitby Endodontics Can Help: A Root Canal Can Keep You Healthy
Root canal therapy is the most common dental procedure here at Whitby Endodontics. Nearly 16 million root canals are performed in the United States alone each year. Don’t let root canal hearsay frighten you.
What is a root canal therapy procedure?
When Dr. Grossman or Dr. Geisler performs root canal therapy, the treatment is relatively simple and often performed in one or two visits. Click here for more info. They clear your tooth’s canals of bacteria and infected pulp, then fills and seals them. Read further to learn about the steps for this endodontic procedure:
- Preparation of the Area – The tooth is examined, and x-rays are taken. A local anesthesia injection sends the numbing agent into the gums and the root of the tooth. When completely numb, a dental dam is placed around the tooth. A dental dam is a thin, 6-inch square sheet, usually made from latex or nitrile. It is used to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and dry during the procedure.
- Drilling and Cleaning the Roots – Your dentist or endodontist then drill an opening through the crown to access the root. Miniscule instruments clean the pulp from the chamber and canals, all the way to the tip of the roots. The canals are disinfected with an antibacterial solution, eliminating bacteria and treating the inflammation and infection.
- Shaping the Canals – Once cleaned, the canals are shaped to prepare the tooth for the filling material. After shaping, the canals are cleaned a second time.
- Filling the Canals – Gutta-percha, a biocompatible material, fills the canals. It is a rubber-like resin placed inside and heated to 40°C to soften and adhere to the root. Your doctor presses the material to fit snugly against the walls.
- Filling to the Access Hole – Once filled, a seal covers the hole with adhesive cement. This filling prevents bacteria from entering the tooth. Your endodontist may place a post inside the tooth if there is insufficient structure to hold the restoration in place. This post is only necessary if the tooth is severely damaged.
- Healing and Antibiotics – You are sent home with a prescription for antibiotics to kill off the rest of the tooth’s infection. You will also be given post-care instructions on what foods to avoid and expect the following few days. It is perfectly normal to experience discomfort after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medications usually alleviate mild pain. The most important thing is to is get adequate rest for at least 24 hours following the procedure. Resting helps to recuperate and heal.
- Adding the Crown – A crown is placed around the treated tooth to add more strength and stability. This permanent crown perfectly matches the existing teeth. Once set, the tooth can handle the forces of chewing once again.
As you can see, a root canal treatment is quite simple.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
Today, with the safest and effective anesthesia, precise tools, and incredible imaging technology, a root canal doesn’t have to be painful. Root canal procedures are typically not a whole lot different from having a deep filling.
Let Our Doctors Save Your Tooth With Root Canal Therapy
Here at Whitby Endodontics, we are highly experienced in root canal therapy. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask. Don’t let fear keep you from receiving tooth-saving endodontic treatment. Your best health may depend on it.
If you are concerned about an issue and believe that a root canal may be the solution, please contact us at (905) 668-6747.