When you hear people talk about a root canal treatment, you may get nervous or scared. Though people feel differently, this procedure is virtually pain-free. Its purpose is to repair and restore damaged teeth and to relieve symptoms of discomfort, sensitivity and irritation. If you have an upcoming procedure, you should understand how this process works.
When a root canal is necessary
Most dental patients experience problems with their teeth from time to time. Issues such as cavities, chips and cracks are common among patients of all ages. In many situations, the dentist can repair these flaws with a filling or another treatment. However, for more widespread concerns, a root canal is the right approach. This procedure helps remove bacteria from the roots of teeth when a patient has an abscess. It may also be a more effective way to handle a larger cavity that a traditional filling cannot support.
Determining the need
Tooth pain is one of the most prevalent signs that a person needs a root canal. Other clues include sensitivity to hot or cold items, gum swelling and discolored teeth. At a diagnostic appointment, the dentist will take X-rays of the patient’s teeth. These will reveal whether the person has an infection or a significantly large cavity. The dentist may also do a hands-on exam by tapping the teeth and asking how much pain it causes the patient.
Preparing the patient
Sometimes, infection or a serious cavity will kill the nerves of the tooth. Still, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the patient. This helps the patient feel more comfortable during the process. The dentist will also place pieces of rubber around the affected tooth to keep it dry.
Removing the infection
Next, the dentist will drill into the tooth until reaching the pulp. This is a chamber beneath the enamel and dentin. This is what houses the tooth’s blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. The infection will affect the pulp, so the dentist takes it out and then disinfects the area. This helps to discourage the growth of additional bacteria.
At the next stage of the root canal, the dentist will seal the tooth to prevent further damage. Some dentists prefer to wait a few days or a week before doing this. After sealing the tooth, the dentist may place a natural-looking crown over the tooth. This will help preserve its form and structure. This is a common step if the tooth was cracked or broken. The patient will likely experience some soreness and swelling for a couple of days. The dentist will recommend that the person take some pain medication to relieve these symptoms.
An effective procedure
You do not have to dread getting a root canal. This treatment can get rid of an infection in your tooth and remove any decay that is causing you pain. Talk to an endodontist near you about going through this process. If your teeth need relief, schedule a trip to the dentist’s office right away.
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