Root canal procedures are quite common and usually performed in order to save a tooth that is in jeopardy and in danger of being extracted. Root canal treatments are performed in our office, and in some cases you may need to make more than one visit, or Dr. Smith may refer you to a specialist for the procedure. A specialist of this kind is called an endodontist and usually deals with procedures that are particularly difficult.
Whichever dentist performs the work, you will receive a local anesthetic to make sure that you do not experience any pain while the work is being done on your tooth. You may have heard that a root canal treatment is very painful. However, the procedure is not painful at all and will give you relief from the pain you had been experiencing before you visited us. You may experience some mild discomfort with having to keep your mouth open and having saliva suctioned out of your mouth. In the majority of cases, root canal treatment is essential to save a tooth in which an infection has caused irreparable damage to the nerve. The pulp of the tooth may also be seriously affected.
Once Dr. Smith carries out an oral examination, he will take X-rays of the teeth to determine how deeply the tooth has been damaged. He will also check to see how far the infection has developed and if it has actually gone into the bone. The X-Ray will also reveal the shape of the root that he will be working on.
When Dr. Smith is satisfied that the area is numb and that you do not have any feeling in the tooth, he will make an access hole in your tooth and remove the damaged nerve and the pulp of the tooth. The damaged pulp is the breeding ground for bacteria from the remnants of food in your mouth and anything you may breathe in from the air. A thorough cleaning of the tooth is then followed by making sure it is sealed. If infection is present, Dr. will use a temporary filling material that can be easily removed at the next visit. Antibiotics are prescribed and the patient appointed to return to the office in 2 to 3 weeks. If the infection is gone, a permanent filling is placed to make certain bacteria do not have any access to the interior of the tooth.
Since endodontic treatment removes the blood supply from the tooth, a treated tooth will become brittle over time. We recommend a crown be placed on any posterior tooth (bicuspid or molar) after a root canal procedure has been done on it.