While a root canal may sound scary, it actually can provide a lot of relief to the pain you may be experiencing now. If your dentist recommends a root canal, it’s because there’s a pocket of infection inside your tooth and in its roots. This can cause pain, pressure, and serious health complications if left untreated.
Here’s what you can expect during root canal therapy.
Examining Your Teeth and Taking X-Rays
First, your dentist will need to diagnose the source of your pain. To do this, they’ll need to thoroughly examine the inside of your mouth and take X-rays. The X-rays will allow your dentist to detect any health issues lurking beneath the surface.
If you have an abscessed tooth, it’ll also help your dentist determine if the infection has spread to your jawbone.
The pulp is the innermost chamber of your tooth, which is composed of a nerve, blood vessels, and soft connective tissue. Once this pulp is infected, the only solution is to either perform root canal therapy or extract the tooth.
The sooner you see a dentist for emergency treatment, the more likely you’ll be able to avoid extraction and save the tooth through root canal therapy.
To prepare you for the root canal, your dentist will need to numb the tooth so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort.
Once the tooth is numb, your dentist will place a rubber sheet called a “dam” around the tooth. This helps to isolate it from the rest of your mouth, keeping it clean and and dry from saliva.
Cleaning and Shaping the Inside of the Tooth
Your dentist will drill a small hole through the top of your tooth. They’ll then use small dental instruments to remove the infected pulp and shape the inside of your tooth and root canals.
Once the inside of your tooth is clean, your dentist will fill the tooth and its root canals with a biocompatible, rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Your dentist will also use adhesive cement to ensure that the root canals are properly sealed.
Placing the Temporary Filling
Next, your dentist will cover the tooth with a temporary filling. This protects your tooth while you wait for your permanent dental crown.
Your dentist will then take impressions of your teeth to send to the lab. From these impressions, the lab will be able to create your new dental crown.
Placing the Permanent Dental Crown
A dental crown is like a “cap” that covers the entire visible portion of your tooth. This restores a fragile tooth to its full strength and natural appearance.
When you return for your final appointment, your dental crown will be ready. Your dentist will then remove the temporary filling and replace it with the permanent dental crown.
From there, your tooth will be completely restored and you’ll be able to smile with confidence and without pain.
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