It’s normal to want to know what to expect from a dental procedure. If you have met with your dentist and they have determined that your tooth can be saved although it is severely damaged, a root canal has likely been recommended. Our dentists understand that the mere mention of a root canal can be disconcerting, but we believe that when you know what happens during a root canal step-by-step, many of your concerns can be alleviated.
If your dentist has recommended a root canal, Advanced Indiana is here to clear up any confusion. Today, we’ll be discussing what happens during a root canal so that you’ll have a better idea of what to expect. Luckily, a root canal is a relatively simple process. While many people are wary of pain, there typically isn’t any more pain associated with a root canal than you would experience with a routine cavity filling. Let’s discuss root canals in-depth!
Step 1: The Area is Prepared
The first step in the root canal process involves preparing the infected area. First, your dentist will numb the area by injecting a numbing agent into the gums and the root of the tooth. Once the site is adequately numbed, a dental dam will be placed in the mouth. The dental dam isolates the specific tooth needing a root canal by covering the surrounding teeth.
Step 2: Cleaning Out the Pulp Chamber and Root Canals
Once the area has been numbed and adequately prepared, the next step is to clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. However, before this, your dentist will have to create a hole in the tooth to access these areas. Once your dentist has gained access, they will use instruments to clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. Antiseptic and antibacterial solutions are used to disinfect the canals during this step. In doing so, your dentist will effectively eliminate bacteria and clear out the infection located in this area.
Step 3: Shaping the Canals
After properly cleaning and disinfecting the affected areas of the tooth, your dentist will shape the canals to allow for a filling. Your dentist will use small instruments to shape the canal to make them just right for receiving the filling. Once the canals have been adequately shaped, your dentist will disinfect the area again.
Step 4: Filling the Canals
Now it’s time to fill the canals. In the case of a root canal, your dentist will use a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha to fill the canals and prevent reinfection. During this step, your dentist will heat the gutta-percha before compressing it so that it fits snugly in the canal itself. Next, your dentist will add adhesive cement to seal the canals even further, and this is the best way to ensure that infection doesn’t occur.
Step 5: Seal the Hole Created to Access the Canals
Remember that hole your dentist had to create to access the pulp chamber and root canals? Well, this hole can’t be left open where it could quickly become infected! Your dentist must seal the hole created to access the canals with a filling in this next step. Additionally, depending on the condition of your tooth, your dentist may also have to place a post within the canal to strengthen the tooth. However, a post is only set when a tooth is severely damaged and cannot support restoration on its own.
Step 6: Allowing Time for Healing
With the pulp chamber and root canals thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and the fillings set, it’s time to begin the healing process. In most cases, patients fully recover from a root canal within just a few days. Often, a dentist will send their patient home with an antibiotic prescription. The antibiotics will do the important job of killing the rest of the infection. It’s critical to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions closely during the healing process.
You should also remember that it is common to experience some discomfort in the days following a root canal procedure. For this reason, many dentists will recommend the use of over-the-counter pain medications. However, the pain experienced shouldn’t be intense. If you happen to experience severe pain, contact your dentist immediately.
Step 7: Adding a Crown (If Applicable)
Finally, if the root canal was performed on the back of a tooth or if the damage was particularly severe, the patient will likely have to come back for a crown. If a crown is required, it will be placed around the affected tooth to add extra strength and stability. Once the crown is set, the patient will be able to chew normally without damaging their tooth.
Do You Think You Need a Root Canal? Trust the Experts at Advanced Indiana!
If you feel you may require a root canal, you must act quickly. The longer you wait to have a root canal, the more damage can be done to your tooth and the harder it will be to save it. Luckily, Advanced Indiana is here to walk you through the entire root canal process with care and professionalism. We look forward to assisting you with all of your dental needs! Contact us today to see what we can do for you! You can also request an appointment online.
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