A dental emergency can strike at any time and with no warning. Perhaps a person is playing a game of touch football on Thanksgiving and a family member decides to up the ante and a tackle comes into play, accidentally knocking out two front teeth. Or maybe on vacation in the tropics, someone decides to…
What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment to Save Your Tooth
When your tooth is badly decayed or infected, root canal therapy is used by dentists to remove the decay and save the tooth. The procedure is performed when the pulp in the tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels, is badly damaged, leaving you in a considerable amount of pain. During the procedure, the pulp is removed from the tooth, then your dentist will clean out the tooth and seal it with a dental crown.
How is a root canal performed?
Undergoing a root canal treatment requires more than one visit to the dentist, and the procedure can be performed by a regular dentist or an endodontist, a dentist that specializes in diseases and injuries to dental pulp. Here is what you can expect during the procedure:
During your first visit, the dentist will take an X-ray of your teeth to get a better look at the condition of the tooth’s pulp and they will also check to see if there are any signs of infection on the bone surrounding the tooth.
Your dentist will then use local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the tooth to make you more relaxed during the procedure. The dentist will also place a rubber dam around the infected tooth to keep it dry during the procedure.
Once the dam has been put in place, your dentist will drill a hole in the infected tooth to remove the pulp before cleaning out the remaining part of the tooth with root canal files to get rid of the bacteria and remaining debris.
After cleaning out the tooth, your dentist will seal the tooth to prevent infection and further damage to the tooth. In some cases, your dentist can decide to wait a week before sealing the tooth. If the root canal cannot be completed on the same day, your dentist will use a temporary filling or temporary dental crown to protect the tooth until you come back for your next appointment.
When the root canal is completed, your dentist will protect the tooth with a dental crown.
What to expect after the procedure
The first thing you will notice once the root canal treatment is completed is the relief from the pain you were feeling before the procedure. During the first couple of days, your teeth may be a little sensitive because of tissue inflammation, especially if you were in a lot of pain before the procedure. If the pain is too much to handle, you should take an over-the-counter medication like Advil or Tylenol for the pain.
In most cases, root canal therapy patients are able to resume their normal activities a day after the procedure.
What is the success rate of root canal treatment?
Dentists have had a lot of success performing root canal treatments, boasting a 95 percent success rate when performing the procedure. In a lot of those cases, the teeth that they fix can last for a very long time.
Root canal treatments are commonly used to fix decayed or infected teeth. If you have a damaged or infected tooth, talk to your dentist as soon as possible to find out if you need to undergo root canal treatment.
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