Root Canal – The Basic Information
A root canal treatment is a procedure in which infected pulp tissue is removed from within the tooth structure and replaced with inert material. This treatment is carried out in teeth that have decayed beyond the point of a regular filling but are healthy enough to not extract.
The tooth structure is made of –
- The outer, hard, white surface is known as enamel.
- The inner, spongy, yellow material is known as dentin. The enamel rests on top of the dentin.
- Underneath the dentin lies the pulp chamber. This contains the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue supply of the tooth. This helps maintain the tooth’s vitality.
When the tooth gets grossly decayed, the infection eats through the enamel and dentin and reaches the pulp chamber. Once the pulp cavity is infected, it affects the vitality of the tooth. To save the tooth structure, the infected tissue is removed and refilled with a rubbery material.
Root Canal – The Procedure
The root canal treatment is done in the following steps –
- The patient is given local anesthesia or a local anesthetic in combination with a sedative. This is administered to keep the patient pain-free and comfortable during the procedure.
- A rubber dam is placed to prevent any contamination from happening.
- A hole is drilled through the crown to access the pulp chamber.
- The infected tooth material is removed.
- Using special filing instruments, the pulp chamber along with the root canals are cleaned and shaped.
- The chamber is constantly irrigated to prevent any debris from accumulating.
- X-rays are taken to determine if the shaping is sufficiently done.
- A rubbery inert material is condensed into the canals.
- A permanent filling is done over the rubbery material.
- The tooth is topped off with a dental crown to retain its structural integrity.
If the procedure is carried out in two sittings, a temporary filling is placed until the second appointment. The dentist might also add a medication to take care of any remaining infection.
How Long Does A Root Canal Take In One Visit?
How long the root canal procedure is depends on which tooth has to be taken care of and the extent of the infection.
- Molars – the posterior teeth – take about 90 minutes per appointment. This is because these teeth have 4 roots.
- Premolars – the teeth between molars and the front teeth – take around 60 minutes per appointment. They have either one or two roots.
- Incisors and canines – the front teeth – take up to 45 minutes. They have a single root.
The placement of a dental crown takes additional time. It is done in a separate appointment and takes about an hour for the final set and placement. Crowns are placed only once the treated tooth has had a chance to heal.
What Type Of Dentist Performs Root Canals?
Root canals can be performed by a general dentist. But a specialist who takes care of root canal treatments is called an Endodontist.
Endodontists have the same basic education as general dentists. But they undergo additional studies and training in the field of endodontics. As a result, they have enhanced skills and clinical expertise when it comes to treatments of the root canal.
Do Root Canals Hurt?
Root canals have a bad rep when it comes to pain. The procedure itself isn’t painful due to the use of anesthesia. Root canals, on the other hand, help a patient get out of pain since the infected tooth is a source of unbearable pain.
If you feel pain during your treatment, tell your dentist – they’ll give you additional anesthesia to help with any discomfort you’re feeling.
How Can A Root Canal Be Done Through A Crown?
When a person fails to maintain proper oral hygiene, plaque and other bacteria accumulate under the crown. This leads to the tooth underneath the crown getting affected.
When the decay becomes extensive, the tooth structure isn’t sufficient to prevent the infection from reaching the pulp chamber. A crown replacement isn’t enough to fix the issue. The tooth will have to undergo a root canal treatment.
In such cases, your dentist will attempt a root canal through the crown. They do it just like they would over a natural crown – by drilling a hole through it and accessing the pulp chamber. The tooth is then sealed off with a permanent restoration.
There are certain exceptions to this technique. These are –
- When the decay is too extensive that it necessitates the removal of the crown for access and possibly extraction.
- If the crown is damaged during the treatment. A large piece of porcelain might chip and break off, leaving the crown unable to be repaired.
- If, during the root canal, your dentist discovers further damage – like a root fracture. Damage to the tooth’s root usually equates to the dentist undertaking an extraction.
Root Canal – Recovery Time
Patients with a root canal will experience sensitivity and mild pain for about 2-3 days after the procedure is complete. The pain is manageable with over-the-counter analgesics and usually subsides on its own.
There aren’t any specific things to avoid after a root canal, except for smoking. Eat a soft diet and skip out on foods and drinks with extreme temperatures.
After the attachment of a dental crown, the patient can go back to their normal eating habits. However, care must be maintained to follow proper oral hygiene.
At Valley Ridge Dental, we offer high-quality dental care paired with a fantastic and comfortable dental experience. Dr. Daniels pays extra attention to his patients, ensuring that they are pain-free during the procedure. Additionally, the team at Valley Ridge is happy to offer additional services to alleviate your anxiety – aromatherapy, paraffin wax treatment for your hands, etc.
While the thought of a root canal might cause anxiety in a bunch of people, remember – delaying treatment will only make things worse. Furthermore, not every toothache means you require a root canal. If you are experiencing pain, give us a call – (651) 439-0322 – and we will try to treat your toothache as soon as possible.