Root Canal Treatment
The term “root canal” is notorious for sending shivers down the spine of even the toughest. Hearing your dentist utter the words “you need a root canal” may leave you going white in the dental chair. You may conveniently “forget” to schedule the appointment for your root canal and simply ignore the issue in hopes that it will go away.
But why the dramatics? Root canal has an infamous reputation and yet oftentimes, it is unfounded. A root canal can save a tooth from extraction and with the advancements in dental technology, today can be performed painlessly.
If you need a root canal, don’t panic! Here’s a breakdown of exactly what will happen during this procedure and why you needn’t feel nervous.
When decay declares war
When tooth decay rears its ugly head, it declares war on your tooth and begins to progress the longer it is left untreated.
The outer surfaces of your tooth are made up of enamel and below this, you will find dentin, beneath all of this is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development. Once decay reaches the inner chamber of the tooth, your pulp may become infected.
Root canal fights back
Nobody wants to lose the war against tooth decay – this often means losing a tooth. Some may say that the root canal is a traumatic experience, however, having a tooth extracted is arguably more so. If your tooth is experiencing advanced stages of dental decay, you may need an extraction, however, root canal comes along to save the day.
First thing’s first: your root canal procedure will begin with some local anaesthesia which will block your pain receptors. (busting the myth that root canal is painful)
Once you have received your anaesthesia, a rubber dam will be placed on the tooth to keep saliva from infiltrating the area. Your dentist will then begin your root canal procedure.
A small drill will be used to clear an access hole and allow your dentist entry to the pulp area of your tooth. Next, specially designed instruments will be used to clear away the infected pulp and debris inside your tooth. It is important to remember that this is not painful due to the fact that the area is numb and the tissue being removed is either dead or dying.
Your dentist will now give this area a good clean by disinfecting the canals with antiseptic and antibacterial solutions.
Restoring what has been lost
The aftermath of this fight between dental decay and root canal treatment will leave your tooth in ruins. And so, the restorations begin.
Once the inner area of your tooth has been cleaned out, root canal fillings and sealers will be placed. Sealing these areas will prevent them from becoming reinfected with bacteria. A temporary or permanent filling material will then be placed to seal the access hole that was made to treat the canals, and the dental dam will be removed. You may receive a crown to finish off the restoration process which will leave your tooth looking good as new!
A root canal is not “the bad guy” and neither is your dentist for suggesting it! Root canals are fantastic procedures which can combat the effects of severe tooth decay and allow you to hold onto your teeth. In today’s day and age, not only are these procedures effective but also can be done with your comfort remaining as a top priority.