What is a Root Canal?

What happens during root canal treatment? Learn more about this quick, comfortable procedure that can relieve your pain and save your natural tooth.

There’s no need to be worried if your dentist a root canal procedure to treat a damaged or diseased tooth. Millions of teeth are treated and saved this way each year, relieving pain and making teeth healthy again.

Inside your tooth, beneath the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin, is a soft tissue called pulp. This tissue contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, which help grow the root of your tooth during its development. A fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

Modern treatment is nothing like those old sayings! It’s very similar to a routine filling and can usually be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. Getting a root canal is relatively painless and extremely effective. You’ll be back to smiling, biting and chewing with ease in no time.

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

  • Efficient chewing
  • Normal biting force and sensation
  • Natural appearance
  • Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain

How does root treatment save the tooth?

It’s necessary to have root canal treatment when the inside of your tooth (the pulp) becomes inflamed or infected as a result of deep decay, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns or a crack or chip in the tooth. Trauma to your tooth may also cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

When you undergo a root canal or treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterward, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection and will continue to function like any other tooth.

When can I return to work following root canal treatment?

After a root canal treatment, your body needs time to rest and heal, but this shouldn’t interfere with your everyday activities. Most people can return to work the next day. To be sure you give your body enough time to recover, consult with your dentist regarding appropriate aftercare procedures.

How Does a Root Canal Procedure Work?

A root canal procedure is performed when the interior, soft portion of the tooth becomes severely damaged or infected. During the procedure, your dentist removes all the infected tissue, then cleans and sanitizes the tooth’s interior. The inside of the tooth is then filled with a sterile resin. A crown is placed on the tooth to help it stand up to regular chewing pressures.

Your dentist uses special tools called files to remove the infected tissue. He will drill a hole in your tooth to provide access to these files. After the procedure, all the nerve tissue will have been removed from your tooth, so it will no longer be able to sense temperature or pressure. However, the tooth will still be usable. After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort and sensitivity in the surrounding tissues, even though the tooth itself is no longer served by any nerves.

Root Canal Aftercare

After your root canal, you will need to take care of yourself to be sure your tooth heals properly and to avoid any new infection building up inside the tooth. Your dentist will probably recommend taking some time to rest. During that time, you can use cold packs to reduce any swelling. Be sure to take any medication your dentist has prescribed, including painkillers or antibiotics. Usually, you should be able to go back to work the next day.

If you notice any unusual symptoms, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. These symptoms could indicate that your tooth is not healing properly or that new infection has set in. Some symptoms to look for include:

  • Fever
  • Swelling or redness near the tooth
  • Pus around the tooth
  • Bleeding
  • An overall flu-like feeling

Be sure to call your dentist as soon as possible if you experience any unusual symptoms or have any questions about your recovery.

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions, so get an appointment today.