Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment, also known as root canal therapy, is a procedure in which the inner tissues of your tooth roots, known as pulp, are removed. When the tooth root becomes infected or abscessed, root canal therapy is used. Despite the fact that the process has a reputation for being hurtful, modern anaesthetics allow root canals to be performed painlessly. In fact, a root canal can relieve the pain caused by an abscess or a badly decayed tooth.
General dentists can perform root canals, but if your tooth roots are unusually shaped or your condition is severe, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist for the procedure.
Root Canal Procedure:
After your dentist has taken x-rays of your tooth and evaluated them, he or she will schedule you for a root canal treatment. Antibiotics may be prescribed for several days prior to the procedure. The antibiotics will assist your body in fighting the infection, making the anaesthetics used prior to the root canal more effective and reducing your pain in the days preceding the treatment.
When you arrive for your root canal treatment, your dentist will first inject a local anaesthetic, such as lidocaine, into the nerve near the abscessed tooth. The area will become numb within a few minutes. The tooth may then be isolated from the other teeth by your dentist using a sheet of foam or plastic. He or she may also place cotton rolls in your mouth to absorb saliva and keep the work environment dry.
Your dentist will then use a drill to make an opening in the centre of your tooth. You may experience some vibrations, similar to when having a cavity filled, but you should not experience any pain. If you experience any discomfort, notify your dentist so that he or she can administer additional anaesthetic to keep you comfortable.
The access hole will be made deep enough for your dentist to gain access to the soft tissues within your tooth's roots. Once this depth is reached, your dentist will scrape and remove the tooth pulp from the roots with special tools. The bacteria will then be killed with a sanitising solution. Finally, your dentist will fill the now-empty tooth roots with a rubber-like material. The access hole will then be filled with composite resin or metal amalgam, similar to how a cavity is filled.
When a root canal is finished, your dentist will usually cover your tooth with a temporary crown. A week or two later, you'll return for a second appointment to have a permanent crown placed. This crown will protect your weakened tooth from further decay and other types of damage.
The treatment is painless, simple, and results in a healthier and more attractive smile.