Root Canal

Root canal therapy is necessary when the pulp layer of a tooth becomes infected. Infection can lead to the loss of a tooth.

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What is a Root Canal?

Root canals are necessary when the pulp layer of a tooth becomes infected. Infection can lead to the loss of a tooth so it is necessary to remove the infection with root canal therapy. The procedure is generally comfortable and saves the natural tooth, prevents the spread of infection, and returns the smile to complete health.

What is the Procedure for a Root Canal?

Before the procedure begins, the area is completely numbed using a local anesthetic. Once the area is numbed, a rubber dam is placed around the infected tooth to protect the mouth and to prevent anything from falling into the back of the throat.

In order to access the infected tooth pulp, an opening is made through the top of the tooth to get down into the pulp chamber. A tiny instrument, called a dental file, is then carefully used to clean out the infected tissue and to shape the root canals to receive a filling. X-rays may be done to ensure that all of the infected pulp is removed before the filling is placed.

After the infected pulp is removed, the restoration is placed. In most cases, a crown is placed to protect and strengthen the tooth. However, if the tooth is severely broken down, it may be necessary to start by building up the tooth with a post and core.

Root Canal FAQs

A root canal is generally not painful because modern dental techniques and anesthesia effectively numb the area being treated. Most patients report feeling minimal discomfort during the procedure, similar to getting a regular filling. After the procedure, some soreness or mild pain might occur, but it can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. Overall, the pain relief from treating the infected tooth often outweighs the temporary discomfort of the procedure.

Yes, root canals are standard dental procedures. Dentists perform millions yearly to save teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted due to severe decay or infection. The procedure is routine in dental care, aimed at preserving natural teeth and preventing further oral health issues. Dental technology and anesthesia advances have them more efficient and comfortable for patients.

The benefits of a root canal include saving the natural tooth, which helps maintain proper chewing function, speech, and the alignment of surrounding teeth. It eliminates the pain and infection caused by deep decay or injury, preventing the need for tooth extraction. By preserving the natural tooth, it also helps avoid the need for more extensive dental procedures, such as implants or bridges, thus promoting oral health and preventing complications from missing teeth.

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