Despite its reputation, the root canal is a treatment designed to alleviate pain and suffering by cleaning and repairing a severely decayed or infected tooth.
Root canals are typically performed on adult patients who haven’t been practicing the best oral hygiene. What happens is plaque eats through the outer enamel of the tooth, which exposes the soft pulp and creates a breeding ground for bacteria. If you think you might need this treatment, read below and contact Ramona Main Street Dental now for a consultation.
The dental pulp is the soft, squishy mass inside the tooth that includes a nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue. This nerve helps to hold the tooth in place and also informs people when there is something wrong with the tooth, as it creates pain. Unfortunately, because the nerve is made of organic material, it is susceptible to bacteria and becomes infected.
When the dental pulp is infected, the infection spreads throughout the tooth and down through the roots, which is why a root canal is necessary. When left untreated, the infection will rot the tooth, and it will eventually fall out, meaning the patient loses one of their permanent teeth.
During the initial appointment, the dentist will examine the tooth to see if it is infected. An x-ray is usually taken to track just how much of the interior has decayed. If the tooth has enough healthy material to be saved, then a root canal can be performed.
The mouth needs to be numbed, so the patient does not experience pain or discomfort. A rubber dam is placed on the gums to help keep down how much saliva the individual produces. A hole is drilled in the tooth, and the dentist uses specialized tools to grab and scrape the infected pulp out of the crown and roots.
The tooth is sanitized, and the dentist might prescribe antibiotics to clear an infection. After a week, the tooth will be sealed using a substance called gutta-percha. The tooth is then topped with a synthetic crown.