A root canal is a restorative endodontic procedure that can save a decayed or damaged tooth from extraction. Your teeth have 5 layers, and the dental pulp is the soft inside layer of your tooth, beneath the dentin and enamel.
This soft center of your tooth contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and is what keeps your tooth alive. When tooth decay is left untreated or you suffer from dental trauma, this part of the tooth can become inflamed and infected.
The only way to treat a tooth infection is to remove the source of the infection so symptoms don’t become worse and the infection does not spread. Instead of having the tooth extracted, we can remove the infected dental pulp and fill the inside of the tooth with a material called gutta-percha to restore the tooth’s integrity. Contact us at Harmony Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.
Over 15 million root canals are performed every year.
You will come in for a consultation with Dr. Barton who will perform an oral exam and take x-rays to determine if you’re a good candidate for root canal treatment.
If damage to your dental pulp has been detected, we will administer a local anesthetic and drill an access hole into your tooth to reveal the dental pulp.
We will then perform a pulpectomy which is the removal of the dental pulp, including the root.
Each tooth contains between 1-4 canals, each of which needs to be cleaned, sanitized, and reshaped. The inside of the tooth is then filled with gutta-percha.
The access hole will be sealed with a permanent filling. Some teeth may need to have a dental crown placed for more protection.
Root canals performed in the anterior or posterior teeth involve the same process. However, the structure of these teeth is slightly different, which can affect how complex the procedure is as well as the recovery.
A root canal performed in an anterior (front) tooth is simpler, less painful, and takes much less time to perform and recover from. These teeth are thinner and contain fewer canals to clean.
The thinner enamel causes the anesthetic to thoroughly numb the tooth to the point where the patient almost doesn’t feel anything. Because there are less canals to clean, these teeth will heal faster and because they aren’t used for chewing, you likely won’t need a dental crown.
Posterior teeth can contain up to 4 canals which must all be thoroughly cleaned and reshaped. For this reason, the procedure may take a little longer, especially because some canals may be difficult to locate.
Recovery is expected to take a little longer than anterior teeth and a dental crown may need to be placed on molars to protect them from chewing forces that can further damage the vulnerable tooth.
Despite their reputation, root canals are not painful and actually alleviate the pain caused by a tooth infection.