A root canal is an endodontic procedure involving the removal of diseased, damaged, or infected pulp, which is the soft center of your tooth. By removing the tooth’s pulp, the infection and bacteria can be fully eliminated through cleaning and filling the tooth.
If your tooth’s pulp becomes damaged or infected, treatment is time-sensitive. If the pain dissipates, this only signifies that the tooth’s pulp, which is made of connective tissue and nerves, has died. The infection will still be present and can spread throughout the body and to the surrounding teeth.
First, Dr. Yoni or Dr. Bean need to make an access hole into the tooth using a dental drill. We administer local anesthesia so your mouth is completely numb and you won’t feel any pain. Once an access hole has been made, we will perform a pulpectomy which is the removal of the diseased pulp.
Each tooth has multiple canals inside and these will be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and shaped before filling the tooth back up with gutta-percha, a material that is similar to rubber. The access hole is then sealed with a temporary filling.
At a separate appointment, you will return to receive a permanent filling and in most cases, a dental crown will be placed on top of the tooth for additional protection.
No, a root canal is no more painful than a routine filling because we use local anesthesia to numb your mouth before any drilling or pulp removal is performed. You may experience some mild pain or discomfort in the next few days following the procedure, once the numbing agent has worn off.
This is normal, as root canal treatment can cause temporary tooth sensitivity and some soreness from the drilling. We recommend avoiding foods and drinks that are very hot or cold, for several days to a week after the procedure. Any pain or discomfort can be alleviated by taking anti-inflammatory pain relief medications, and elevating your head when you sleep.
The most common causes of tooth pulp damage include untreated decay, dental trauma, damage to fillings, infection, wear and tear, and gum disease. It’s important to follow your dentist’s advice when they suggest root canal therapy as a restorative treatment because often the only other alternative is extraction.
It is always preferable to save a tooth than to lose it. Losing a tooth means bone loss, shifting teeth, and change to your facial structure and appearance. You will also need to have the tooth replaced. The following are signs that you need a root canal:
If you have any of these symptoms, you likely need root canal treatment, and should seek help as soon as possible. Contact us at Green Leaf Dental today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yoni or Dr. Bean.