A root canal or endodontic therapy is a treatment option for patients with severe tooth decay, toothache, or tooth sensitivity. The procedure involves the removal of bacteria from the pulp and treatment of exposed nerves.
The term root canal means the exposed cavity within the center of the tooth. On the other hand, the pulp is the soft tissue beneath the root canal. The nerves also lie within the root canal. Nerves do not play any vital role in the health and functions of your tooth. However, they play a sensory role for temperature. Therefore their presence or absence does not affect your daily activities.
Once pulp or nerve tissue is damaged, it breaks down paving way for bacteria to multiply. Decayed debris or the bacteria will cause an infection and sometimes tooth abscesses. Other than an abscess, a decayed tooth root canal can lead to:
A tooth nerve or pulp gets irritated as a result of:
A root canal is a four-step procedure and requires two visits to your endodontist. While performing a root canal procedure an endodontist near you will follow the steps below.
First, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the surrounding gum as well as the tooth. You should expect to feel a little pinch, but only for a moment. Once the site is numb, your endodontist a dental dam. The purpose of the dam is to isolate the tooth, hence keep it clean while carrying out the procedure.
Next, your endodontist will use a drill to create an opening on the top part of the tooth. The opening will provide a clear view while assessing the root canal. Your dentist will then use small files to remove damaged pulp from the tooth. He or she might irrigate the cavity, to ensure no damaged pulp debris remains.
After washing out all the debris, your dentist might use an antimicrobial solution to kill any remaining bacteria. Killing bacteria will reduce the risk of further infection.
Once your endodontist is done cleaning the pulp chamber, he or she will fill the cavity with a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. While you wait for a permanent crown, your dentist will close the opening with a temporary filling.
Finally, the dentist will place a permanent crown on the tooth. He or she might also use an alternative restorative option. Your dentist can place a small post inside the root chamber to support the crown or any other restorative option. However, placing a supporting post is not always necessary, depending on your condition.
For fast recovery, you need to employ some measures. Immediately after the treatment, ensure that you pay close attention to your mouth and how it feels. You will experience some pain and swelling on the gum and cheek around the site of surgery.
Wait till you are no longer numb before you eat anything. To reduce the swelling, place an ice pack on it. Also, keep your head elevated using pillows to reduce irritation. At Town & Country Dentistry, we recommend you eat foodstuffs that don’t require a lot of chewing. Also, if you are a smoker quit smoking for the next few days or if possible.
For optimal recovery, ensure you get the rest you need. You should also remember that oral surgery can make your sore, fatigued, and uncomfortable. Staying at home for two or three days would speed up the healing process
You should visit your dentist if you experience the following:
Here are the benefits of root canal therapy: