Root canals are quite a common dental procedure these days. It is usually needed in situations where tooth damage is so severe that if the root canal is not performed the tooth might have to be removed.
There are many causes of this kind of severe tooth damage, and it typically originates in the soft tissue found in the middle of the tooth. There is a lot more to a root canal than what most people know which is why this article will take you through the step-by-step process and explain more about this dental procedure.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal refers to a dental treatment that involves the abstraction of pulp from the tooth. The pulp is found in the center of the tooth and has a thread-like appearance. The pulp is only removed when it gets diseases, damaged or when it dies. Once that’s done, the space it leaves behind is cleaned and filled with something else.
The root canal procedure helps to save the affected tooth, which would otherwise have to be removed. The diseased pulp can infect the outer part of the tooth when left untreated, thus damaging it beyond repair. The term root canal is actually a description of the organic cavity that’s found in the center of the tooth where the pulp is found.
Why is It So Important?
Here are some reasons why root canals are so crucial:
- They treat tooth injuries.
Through a root canal treatment, the injured nerve is taken out without negatively affecting the rest of the tooth, while simultaneously relieving the symptoms associated with the nerve injury.
- They protect the tooth.
By removing the infected nerve, root canals can help to protect infected teeth and prevent them from being removed due to the spread of infection.
- They prevent a tooth extraction.
The purpose of a root canal is to prevent your natural tooth from getting extracted. Natural tooth extraction is usually avoided because that could lead to other problems like having to decide what you will replace it with, sunken teeth, and the possibility of your other teeth getting misaligned.
- They save you money in the long run.
All of the problems associated with tooth extraction are costly. On the other hand, getting a root canal can work out cheaper and it takes lesser time as well.
What Happens During This Procedure?
A root canal treatment can be completed within one or two dentist visits. In case you’re wondering what happens during the procedure, here’s what you can expect:
Firstly, the dentist will numb the affected tooth using a needle that contains a local anesthetic. You’ll feel a slight pinch from the needle, followed by complete numbness on the area. After that, the endodontist will place a layer of the dental dam to make sure that area is kept dry and clean throughout the procedure.
Using a tiny mini-drill, your dentist will make a hole on the uppermost part of the tooth, and then they’ll systematically clean away the infected pulp in the tooth using equally minuscule files. The same files are used thereafter to contour the inner cavity and root of the tooth.
They might even pour a little water in the cavity to properly rinse off any potentially remaining pulp. At this point, your dentist will apply a microbial formula onto the inner cavity to eliminate the threat of possible infection from lingering bacteria.
The endodontist will then use a substance called gutta-percha to temporarily fill the hole left in your tooth, as a permanent crown will most likely be installed at the next appointment after your dentist has prepared it for you.
Within a couple of weeks after the root canal, your dentist will call you back to place the permanent crown to close off the hole permanently.
After the procedure, you’ll start to notice a difference in how the previously infected area feels.
Not only will the formerly infected tooth look normal and no longer discolored, but you’ll also be able to chew and touch that area without feeling pain anymore. An added benefit of getting a root canal is that it prevents extreme damage from happening to the tooth, thus protecting it from possible extraction.
When is Treatment Needed?
A root canal treatment is usually required when an infection has been identified within the caverns of your tooth. This is indicated by an inflammation in the soft pulp inside.
Common causes of tooth infections include a bacterial invasion, the presence of a crack in the tooth due to an injury that was left untreated, and even severe cavities.
A few of the common signs that you need a root canal treatment include experiencing severe pain in the tooth, swelling of the gums, a feeling of discomfort when touching or chewing with the area, and sometimes even discoloration of the tooth itself.
In some instances, these symptoms can last for many weeks, and in other instances, they do not last at all. Others may not even experience any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to go for regular check-ups and routine dental cleanings, where your dentist will be able to examine your teeth and gums and spot these problems before they progress.
In the worst-case scenario, your tooth might need to be removed, but root canals can help you prevent that by treating the tooth and removing the troublesome and infected pulp.
Root canals might not sound like the most comfortable procedure but as you can see, it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. In fact, it could even help you to save your precious teeth in the event of an infection or accident. It’s also a relatively quick procedure that can be completed within one or two visits to the dentist and is non-invasive with minimal to no pain experienced.
[CALL NOW] to schedule a Root Canal appointment at Tri-City Dental Care located in Kennewick, WA which is on the southwest bank of the Columbia River.