A root canal is a dental procedure that is named after the part of the tooth that it addresses. The root canal is the inside portion of a tooth root that contains the pulp. Pulp is a soft tissue that consists of nerves and blood vessels that sustain the tooth. The pulp can become infected if bacteria manages to get inside of the tooth. If this occurs, a root canal procedure will need to be performed to treat the infection.
What is a root canal and what does it entail? Here’s an overview of the procedure.
The Procedure for a Root Canal
Root canal therapy is a very standard procedure that is similar to a cavity filling in many ways. Here’s a step-by-step overview.
- Local anesthesia is applied to the area where the root canal will be performed. This numbs the tooth to be worked on.
- The dentist will make a small hole in the crown of the tooth to access the root canal.
- The soft pulp will be removed from the inside of the tooth and roots.
- The infected tissue will be removed and the infection cleaned out.
- The root canal will be filled in with an inert material called gutta percha to prevent further infection.
- The hole in the crown will be filled with a temporary restoration. In some cases a crown may need to be placed over the tooth after a root canal in order to fortify the tooth
In some cases an antibiotic may be prescribed following a root canal procedure to help treat the infection if needed.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
Somewhere along the way the term “root canal” became synonymous with something long and painful. However, in reality, a root canal takes about the same amount of time and is no more painful than a routine cavity filling. Local anesthesia ensures that you won’t feel anything while the procedure is taking place. And if you feel any discomfort afterwards, an over the counter pain medication should take care of it.
Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
When a cavity in a tooth gets deep enough that it reaches the pulp inside the root canal, it is highly susceptible to infection. If infection can be prevented with a root canal, it is preferable to have the procedure done before an infection can begin. An infected tooth can be very painful, so waiting until your tooth aches is going to be much more uncomfortable for you. Regular appointments at your dentist’s office may allow your dentist to detect the need for a root canal before an infection sets in. Yearly radiographs at your routine appointments will show whether or not a cavity in a tooth is deep enough to require a root canal.
A tooth may also require endodontic therapy if it is subject to trauma of some kind. If a tooth gets bumped hard enough that it cracks or chips, the inside of the tooth may be exposed to bacteria and infected. The tooth will sometimes appear gray or dark compared to the other teeth, which is an indication that a root canal is needed.
Benefits of a Root Canal
There are many benefits to receiving root canal therapy, including:
- Saving your natural tooth. A root canal can restore your existing tooth and allow you to keep it where it is in your mouth. It is the last line of defense before a tooth needs to be extracted.
- Avoiding pain. Getting a root canal when your dentist first recommends it can prevent a painful infection later.
- Preventing future damage. Addressing the source of the insult such as decay or a crack will halt the progression of deterioration of the tooth. Protecting the tooth with a crown afterward will strengthen it from biting forces after endodontic treatment is completed.
Diablo Valley Endodontic Specialists Provide Root Canal Services
If you’re in need of a root canal, Tittle Endodontics provides this and other endodontic services. Endodontics refers to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions regarding the pulp inside of the teeth. Endodontists regularly perform root canals and other procedures that affect the roots and in the inner portion of the teeth.
Call 925-676-3388 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to providing you with a comfortable and convenient experience.