How Do Root Canals Work?
Root canals aren’t all that different from a basic cavity filling—a local anesthetic is applied, a drill is used to clean out the bacteria, and the structure of the tooth is repaired with a special resin or epoxy.
Generally, your root canal procedure will be broken up into two appointments:
The doctor will use the first appointment to clean (remove the infection from) your tooth and sterilize the area, before sealing the tooth with a dental polymer. Once it’s been cleaned and sealed, the patient shouldn’t feel any more tooth pain as the root (where the dental pulp and nerve endings reside) has been removed.
During the second visit, the doctor will cement a custom-fitted crown on top of the natural tooth to protect it from further damage and completely restore your natural smile.
What Is the Filling Made Of?
The filling used in a root canal is typically made of a strong, natural material like porcelain, or a plastic-based resin.
What Do Root Canals Look Like?
When the root canal is complete and the crown is set, the tooth should look as normal and natural as any of the other 32 teeth in your mouth.
Why Do People Get a Root Canal?
People get a root canal when the interior of their tooth becomes infected.
Teeth are only hard on the outside. Inside their tough, enamel exterior is soft, vulnerable tissue called “pulp.” The pulp contains both the blood vessels and nerve endings that keep the tooth healthy and alive. If bacteria gets into the pulp (via an unaddressed cavity, for instance) it can lead to an infection and inflammation that causes pain and puts the entire tooth in jeopardy.
How Long Will My Root Canal Last?
The filling and crown inserted during your root canal procedure should last about 10 years, assuming the procedure is done by a qualified dentist and you maintain good dental hygiene habits (i.e. regular brushing, flossing, etc.).
What to Expect When Getting a Root Canal?
The dentist will begin your root canal by numbing your tooth and the surrounding area with a local anesthetic, before isolating the tooth using a rubber dam to keep it as dry and saliva-free as possible. Once this “prep work” is complete, the root canal can begin in earnest.
Using a small, fine-pointed drill, the dentist will create an opening in the exterior of the affected tooth in order to access the inner pulp. Tiny files and drills will then be used to clear away all the infected tissue, as well as prepare the tooth for the application of a filling.
The first part of the root canal procedure ends with the dentist installing and shaping your new filling.
A few days later, you’ll return to the dentist’s office for the second part of the procedure—the installation of a crown to protect the damaged tooth and its filling. You can learn more about what’s involved with a crown installation by clicking here.
How Painful Is a Root Canal?
Thanks to Hollywood, most first-time patients come into the office worried their root canal will be an excruciating procedure. Fortunately, the team at Dean Dental Solutions is able to dispel those fears immediately. By using high-quality anesthesia and the most modern tools available, the team at Dean Dental Solutions can make any root canal a near pain-free experience.
Having said that, it is important to note that your mouth will be tender following the procedure, particularly around the tooth in which the root canal took place. In most circumstances, this sensitivity will disappear in a few days, and can be tolerated with basic, over-the-counter pain medication.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
Do you have major tooth pain? If so, you probably need a root canal. Of course, pain alone isn’t the only indication that a root canal may be necessary—something as simple as sensitivity to hot and cold liquids could mean a root canal is in your future.
The only way to definitively find out whether or not you need a root canal is to request an appointment with a qualified dentist.