When teeth are severely damaged by tooth decay or a tooth infection develops, root canal therapy is often necessary to restore the tooth’s health and structural integrity. Although no patient wants to need root canal therapy, understanding when a dentist might recommend it can be helpful.There are several reasons that a dentist might recommend root…
What Are Steps for Root Canal Therapy?
A root canal treatment can save your tooth. Over time, a tooth can experience severe decay. The infection may travel deep into the tooth’s root canal. When this happens, the dentist’s main priority is to save the tooth. If you want to have an idea of what will happen during your upcoming root canal, here are the details.
Step 1: numbing the area
A root canal is invasive. The dentist will give the patient a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and its surrounding soft tissues. Inflammation will be present in the pulp. This will be painful to touch. The dentist will wait until the anesthetic takes full effect before starting the procedure.
The dentist will provide the appropriate type of anesthetic to the patient. Some patients can have the procedure with local anesthesia or laughing gas. Others need a deeper form of sedation through IV therapy. This will need monitoring by a licensed anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist. This form of sedation is ideal for patients who do not want to experience crippling anxiety.
Step 2: placing a dental dam
The dentist will place a dental dam over the affected tooth and the neighboring teeth. This dental dam is a thin sheet of vinyl or rubber. The dentist will punch a hole in the dam, exposing the targeted tooth. This isolates the tooth from the rest of the mouth’s components. The dam allows the dentist to perform the root canal without contamination from saliva or other particles.
Step 3: drilling
Accessing the infected pulp chamber and root canals will happen through an access hole. The dentist will drill a hole through the tooth’s biting surface of a molar or the back of a front tooth. This is the main reason for giving the anesthetic. The anesthetic or sedation makes the procedure painless.
Step 4: removing the pulp
Pain from the affected tooth comes from the injured or infected pulp. A dead or dying pulp will not have sensation. The dentist will remove the pulp from the tooth structure. There will be no pain anymore during the root canal procedure because of the anesthetic or sedation. Once the dentist removes all the pulp, the tooth structure will not feel any pain anymore.
Step 5: disinfecting and sealing the tooth
Making sure the infection stops spreading is the dentist’s goal. The dentist will clean out the empty dental space. Then, the dentist will disinfect it. Antiseptic solutions will kill off the remaining bacteria in the tooth. The dentist will use a flexible instrument to shape the inside of the tooth. This will make the fillings and sealants adhere better to the dental cavity.
Step 6: filling the dental cavity
The dentist will select the root canal filling. The common choice is gutta-percha. This is a thermoplastic filling. The dentist applies a sealer with the gutta-percha. These substances will prevent the tooth from reinfection. The patient must take antibiotics to stop the infection from recurring and spreading as well.
Getting a root canal treatment can save your tooth
Saving your natural tooth structure is your dentist’s main goal. The dentist must remove the dead or infected pulp. This will prevent the infection from spreading. Knowing the steps of a root canal procedure will help you get ready for your upcoming procedure.
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