If you’ve been told that you need a root canal treatment, this is a good place to begin learning more about what that means for you today and for the long-term health and beauty of your smile.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal therapy is a type of dental treatment that involves removing the pulp of your tooth in order to preserve, and ultimately save, a damaged tooth. The pulp is the soft material inside your tooth The pulp contains connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.
Are Root Canals Safe?
While your tooth is growing, the pulp is instrumental in helping the tooth along. Once your tooth is fully developed, though, the pulp becomes unnecessary, so having it removed will not cause the tooth, which can be nourished by the tissues surrounding it, to die.
Not only is it safe to have a root canal, when done properly there is very little, if any, discomfort associated with the procedure. The benefit it provides of preserving your smile is well worth the minimal discomfort you will feel during the course of your root canal treatment.
Why are Root Canals Performed?
Root canals become necessary when the pulp inside your tooth becomes inflamed, infected, or diseased. The most common identifiers that a root canal may be necessary include things like: pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, severe headaches, and pain from eating, drinking, or pressure on the tooth.
This can be caused by many different things, those these are some of the most common causes:
- Deep Cavities
- Cracked Teeth
- Broken Teeth
- Inflamed or Infected Nerves in the Tooth
- Tooth Injuries (even if not visible on the surface of the tooth)
- Frequent Dental Procedures
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. The need for a root canal is typically determined on a case by case basis.
What are the Steps in a Root Canal Procedure?
The root canal procedure is a multi-step process that requires one or more visits to your dentist to complete. These are the primary steps:
Step 1 – Preparing the Tooth
In this step the tooth is numbed to minimize discomfort. Then your dentist will lay a thin rubber dam over the tooth to keep your tooth dry. Afterward, an opening will be created through the crown of the tooth that goes down into the pulp chamber.
Step 2 – Removing the Pulp
Not only is the pulp removed from the pulp chamber, but also from the root canal (which is the space located inside the tooth’s root. The entire canal will be cleaned to get rid of any bacteria that could be lurking. At this time, your dentist may place medicine inside the pulp chamber to aid in the process of removing bacteria. Your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic at this time if there are signs of an active infection before filling the canal with a temporary filling to prevent contaminates from getting in.
Step 3 – The Final Filling
At a second appointment your dentist will again numb the tooth and use the dam to isolate and protect it. He or she will then remove the temporary filling and replace it with the permanent filling before topping the tooth with a crown to protect the filling and the tooth in the future.
A successful root canal and accompanied dental crown not only protects the integrity of the tooth, providing strength and support for many years to come, but also helps to preserve the beauty of your smile.
Call Dr. Poncza or Dr. McDonald at Smile On Dental Salon in Lakeview at: 773-570-1630 to discuss how root canal therapy can help save your tooth.