Regardless of what people may have told you, the primary aim of a root canal is not to induce unbearable pain. Instead, the procedure aims to salvage a severely infected tooth. According to the National Institute of Health, a dentist performs a root canal to remove bacteria and dying tissues from the tooth’s interior.
Recent technological advancements and techniques have made root canal procedure more convenient and more comfortable. Nowadays, you only need one or two appointments with the dentist or endodontist.
When is treatment necessary?
The dentist usually recommends root canals when an infection has penetrated deep into the tooth. The tooth pulp can get infected with bacteria due to an injury or a severe, untreated cavity. If left untreated, the infection may worsen to a point where tooth extraction will be the only option.
If you need a root canal treatment, here is a guide of what the procedure entails and what to expect after the treatment.
Root canal treatment
According to the American Association of Endodontists, a root canal procedure takes four stages and should take two dental visits.
First, the dentist will render the tooth numb using local anesthesia. You may feel a slight sensation at the entry point of the needle. Afterward, the dental expert may place a dental dam, which is a plastic sheet that separates the tooth to keep it clean and dry during the treatment.
Using small dental tools, the dentist will make an opening on the upper part of the tooth to reach into the tooth. Next, they will scrape the damaged or diseased pulp inside the tooth and remove it. Files help reshape the interior of the tooth and fluids clean out any leftovers.
The dentist may also add antimicrobial solution into the tooth to remove any bacteria present and minimize the threat of further infection.
After cleaning and drying the chamber, a rubber-like material called gutta-percha fills the empty space. The opening created in the tooth will be covered with a temporary filling before the permanent crown is ready.
A few weeks after the initial procedure, the permanent crown should be ready for placement. Other types of restorations can also be used for the tooth. Depending on the state of the natural tooth, a small post may attach to the root chamber to support the crown or restoration.
After the procedure
It is essential that you take adequate care of your teeth and gums after going through root canal treatment. An additional appointment with the dentist for an x-ray scan of the affected tooth may be necessary to ensure there is no infection present.
You also need to keep regular, biannual dental appointments and maintain excellent oral hygiene at home. This includes brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing after meals to remove food debris.
With proper care and attention, you should not have any issue with the tooth after a root canal treatment. You need to contact your dentist if complications occur after the procedure.
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