What To Expect If You Need A Root Canal
A root canal is a common treatment used to treat a badly damaged or infected tooth. A root canal treatment requires removing the damaged area of the tooth, also known as the pulp, which may be composed of bacteria and dying tooth cells. Once pulp is removed, the remaining area is cleaned, disinfected, filled, and finally sealed.
Common sources of advanced tooth decay include deep cavities, cracked teeth, repeated dental treatment to a tooth, or any other trauma. Softer tissue inside the tooth decays much quicker than the enamel outside. The name “root canal” is derived from the cleaning of the canals inside the tooth.
Modern root canal therapy techniques have rendered the procedure simple and relatively painless. For those facing a root canal in the near future, what follows is a simple explanation of what to expect.
For every root canal there are six essential steps:
- An X-ray imager is used to assess the damage and determine if a root canal is necessary. These high-frequency images penetrate bone, allowing dentists to see inside a tooth.
- After deciding that a root canal will be necessary, an anesthetic is introduced to the patient’s mouth to numb the affected area. This is usually administered topically using a needle.
- The root canal dentist will drill into the top of a tooth to access the inner, diseased area. The affected tooth cells are removed using specialized tools.
- Roots that have been exposed in the cleaning process are filled with gutta-percha material and sealed off with cement.
- Approximately two weeks later, the dentist will fit a new top on the tooth, also known as a crown. These crowns may be made of porcelain, silver, or even gold.
- Follow-up appointments may include dental cleaning and more x-ray to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.
Taking good care of teeth after a root canal is essential in re-establishing dental health. Often, if habits aren’t changed, the problem of tooth decay may continue to repeat itself. Regular brushing and flossing is an excellent way to prevent against tooth damage. Dental cleanings twice yearly are also recommended. With proper care, a high-quality root canal by an experienced restorative dentist will last a lifetime.
For those who have recently undergone root canal therapy, it is important to note that chewing on hard food such as ice can cause fillings to crack and should be avoided. With all this information in mind, root canals are no longer a mystery to be feared but a simple and common procedure to improve the smiles of all.
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For more information or to get started with root canal treatments, call us today at (215) 945-8222 for all your oral care needs.