The term root canal often strikes fear into dental patients, but at My Family Dentists we are here to set your mind at ease and fears to rest before the procedure begins. Rest assured we will take the time to answer your questions, address concerns, and explain the process before you lay back in the chair to begin your procedure.
Root canals are required when the nerve of a tooth is infected. Nerve infection may be caused by injury or by decay and cannot be corrected by normal drilling.
If a root canal is required, typically two appointments are necessary to complete the process. The first appointment will focus on removing the infection; the second will involve filling the now empty canal. The delay assures that the infection will not reappear once the tooth is filled.
Root canals always use anesthesia to numb the area before the procedure begins, so you should not feel any pain during the canal. The tooth is normally isolated with a rubber dam to keep saliva away from the work area and tooth debris away from your mouth.
The tooth is first drilled to gain access to the inner nerve canal and to remove any exterior decay. Then, the dentist uses special files to clean the inner canal and remove the nerve. Once complete, the dentist will medicate and clean the tooth, then plug the hole with a temporary filling.
The return visit is usually scheduled for one to two weeks later. During the second visit, the dentist will ensure no signs of infection have reappeared and then pack the canal with its permanent filling, called guttapercha. This material is simply pushed into the canal until it is filled. Then, a normal filling is applied to seal the exterior hole.
After a root canal, you may wish to crown the tooth to help strengthen it since it will be more fragile than your other teeth.