What Patients Need to Know About a Root Canal

When a tooth becomes infected or badly decayed, a dentist may recommend a root canal. These two words strike terror in the heart of the patient, as there are myths swirling around about this procedure and what it involves. However, a root canal may be needed to save the tooth, thus it is an option every person should consider to preserve their oral health. During this procedure, the pulp and nerve of the affected tooth are removed, as this allows the inside of the tooth to be cleaned and sealed.

A root canal is necessary to ensure the tooth does not become infected and abscesses aren’t allowed to form. The removal of the nerve does not impact the tooth’s functioning in any way. All the nerve does is provide the sensation of cold or heat, thus this does not need to be of concern. The pulp must be removed to ensure bacteria isn’t given the opportunity to build up and lead to more serious problems, such as the loss of bone around the root of the tooth.

First, the dentist x-rays the tooth to determine the shape of the root canal and to look for infection. If an infection is present, antibiotics may be needed to clear it up before the procedure can take place. Anesthesia may then be used to numb the area in many cases, although the nerve is dead, but this is a matter of personal preference. A sheet of rubber is then placed around the tooth to keep the area clean.

The Dentist drills an access hole in the tooth to remove the bacteria, debris, and nerve tissue. He or she does so using files designed specifically for a root canal. Sodium hypochlorite or water helps to flush this debris away from the tooth. The tooth must then be sealed, either at the same appointment or at a follow-up one. If the sealing process is to be delayed, a temporary filling is used to prevent debris from entering the tooth. Gutta percha is used to seal the tooth, and the dentist may follow up with a crown or other restoration.

To learn more, contact us at Ala Moana Dental Group. The clinic will be happy to answer any questions you have. Don’t live with an infected or delayed tooth. Doing so could lead to serious issues. Let the experts help you resolve your oral problems, including performing a root canal when needed. You can also connect them on Facebook.

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