A Root Canal Dentist Explains the Process

Posted on: March 1, 2016

Root Canal DentistAs a local root canal dentist, we are in the business of saving infected teeth.  The root canal is the natural cavity that exists within the center of the tooth. Inside of this natural cavity, there is a soft area that is known as the dental pulp or pulp chamber, and the root of the tooth lies within the root canal. Sometimes the nerve of the tooth or the pulp becomes damaged, due to decay or some kind of trauma that leads to a multiplication of bacteria within the pulp chamber. Left untreated this buildup of bacteria can cause a severe infection or an abscess of the tooth itself, both of which are extremely painful and require a dentist’s intervention. The process, of treating this condition, is known as a root canal and is one of the most common surgeries performed across the country today.

Understanding a root canal, and what we do when we are performing one, can go a long way to setting your mind at ease during the process itself. Many people fear dental surgery, so we want to make sure that you understand that this is one of the most routine surgeries we perform. The first step, to getting a root canal, is to have a series of x-rays. The x-rays serve a dual purpose. First, they tell us if there is a widespread infection that requires a course of antibiotics to cure, and second they give us a picture of the root which includes the shape and dimensions of the root canal itself.

As a root canal dentist, we will always start the procedure by giving you a localized anesthesia. In most cases, this is probably not required since the tooth may be dead. However, given that we do not want to have you experience any discomfort, the local anesthesia will completely numb the tooth and surrounding gums ensuring that you do not feel anything. Once you are completely numb, we will place a dental dam over the tooth. A dental dam is a rubber sheet which acts to prevent the tooth from having saliva or excessive moisture on it during the procedure.

The next step is to get to the actual root and clean it out the chamber and dental pulp. A small access hole will be drilled in the tooth itself, giving us the ability to reach the root. The root will be removed, and the infected pulp will be removed. A series of dental files, in increasing diameter, will be pushed into the cavity. This scrapes the walls of the root canal, making sure that all infected tissue is removed and that it is completely cleaned out. While this is going on the dental team will flush the cavity repeatedly with water or sodium hypochlorite, to remove any debris and keep it clean. Once we are satisfied that the root canal is completely free of tissue, we will seal the canal with a sealer paste and a rubber compound known as Gutta Percha to prevent a reinfection from occurring. Finally, the outer access hole will be covered with a regular tooth filling. If necessary, we will finalize the procedure by applying a dental crown to the tooth in order to protect it.  As a root canal dentist, we can do all of this while ensuring your comfort.

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