A root canal is an endodontic treatment that removes the diseased pulp tissue from a tooth. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that help your tooth develop during its lifecycle. It is a natural cavity at the core of your tooth and can be damaged by decay or injury, leading to an infection deep in the tooth.
Infection in the root of a tooth can lead to severe pain and swelling, and sometimes an abscess may form inside the tooth or near the roots. An abscess can spread throughout your body and cause other problems, including damage to your jaw bone.
When you have an infected tooth, a root canal is the best way to eliminate that infection. During the procedure, the infected tissue and bacteria are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated dental materials to prevent the infection from coming back.
During your root canal procedure, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a topical anesthetic. This can be done using a gel placed on your gums or an injection into the tooth.
Once the area is numb, the dentist will open your tooth to expose the infected pulp. Then, the doctor will carefully clean out the infected pulp and place filling material to seal the interior of the tooth.
Next, the pulp chamber is cleaned out and disinfected to ensure that no germs or other irritants remain. This is called a “pulp vitality test.”
Then, the dentist will fill the inside of the tooth with a rubber compound and sealer paste that will protect the nerves and prevent re-infection. You may also be given a filling at this point to close the access hole created during the treatment.
You will need to come back for a follow-up appointment after your treatment is complete. Your dentist will check the success of your treatment and answer any questions you may have.
Some patients experience a mild post-treatment soreness for a few days. This is normal. If the soreness persists, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medication to control it. If you do experience any discomfort or pain after your procedure, contact Go 2 Dental to schedule an appointment to discuss it with the dentist. Our dentist in GO2Dental will be happy to explain what is going on and make recommendations for you.
After your treatment, you will need to practice good oral hygiene, avoid consuming too much sugar, and visit your doctor for regular dental examinations and cleanings. Your healthy tooth will last a long time, as long as you follow your dentist’s advice on how to maintain it.
Your dentist will give you specific instructions about what to eat and drink after your treatment. This includes soft foods, as well as avoiding foods that are too hot or cold.
If you are concerned that you might be too sensitive to the anesthetics used in your root canal, your doctor may prescribe a mild over-the-counter pain reliever to alleviate discomfort. You should also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Despite the common belief that root canals are painful, they are actually relatively painless procedures. Modern technology and improved anesthetics make them a very safe and effective dental procedure.