What You Need to Know About a Root Canal Procedure

Posted on: 24 October 2022

If you've noticed sensitivity around a tooth that seems to get worse when you drink hot or cold liquids, you may have an infection of the soft tissue. In this situation, a dentist may recommend a root canal, and if you've never been through one of these procedures before, you may be wondering what it is and what's involved. How will the treatment unfold?

Why the Work Is Required

Below the hard part of the tooth (the crown) and protective dentin is a much softer material known as pulp. It can often become infected if you have a cavity or a cracked tooth. This can lead to an abscess on the gum and nagging, repetitive pain. The dentist will always try to save the tooth if they can, and the standard approach is to perform a root canal.

This type of procedure is very commonplace, although it may be performed by a specialist known as an endodontist. Either way, the work may take a little while to complete, but it shouldn't be painful as you will receive a local anaesthetic before the procedure gets underway.

Understanding the Procedure

Once the area has been numbed, the surgeon will make a small opening in the crown of the tooth, exposing the infected pulp. They will then remove all of the infected material, carefully cleaning all the residue from the interior canals. Once happy with that portion of the work, they will then add a topical antibiotic to ensure that they address the infection and prevent any recurrence.

Next, the dentist will fill the now-empty area with a sealing paste and a special material known as gutta-percha. Interestingly, this is the same rubber-like material that is found inside older golf balls. Once that part of the procedure is complete, the dentist will add a temporary filling to protect the work and allow the area to heal.

Follow-Up Visit

When you return for a second visit, the dentist will take an x-ray to look at the tooth and see how it has healed. If the infection is gone and you are not experiencing any more pain, they will replace the temporary filling with a permanent one. Some patients choose to have an artificial crown made from porcelain, but you should discuss the options with your dentist to see which is best for you.

Scheduling Your Visit

As you can see, a root canal is a relatively straightforward process and can help to save that tooth. Without it, the tooth may decay even further, and you might need to get it removed. If you have any further questions about this procedure, discuss them with your dentist before your visit.

For more information about getting a root canal treatment, reach out to a local service.