Basically, a root canal is a dental procedure that is used to fix a tooth that can’t be fixed (filled or restored) in any other way. If a tooth is decayed to the point of effecting the nerve or if it is abscessed, then a root canal is usually the only option available that can save the tooth.
The Root Canal Process
If you’re going to be getting a root canal, reading about the process sounds much worse than going through it. The main reason being is that you will be 100% numb while the root canal is being performed. That will actually be the first step in the process; numbing the effected area so that you will be pain free throughout the procedure. After the numbing is complete, a rubber dam may be used to keep the area around the tooth dry and saliva free. The next step will be to drill an opening into the subject tooth. This will allow removal of all decay and bacteria around the tooth that has built up over time- which created the issue in the first place. Once the tooth is cleaned out, it’s time to focus on the root. A root canal file is used to measure the depth of the tooth’s root. This instrument gets down into the root, cleans it, and finally removes the nerve itself. Once the nerve is removed, the roots are filled with a rubbery material and a filling will be placed on the tooth. That is the root canal process in a nutshell!
After the Root Canal
Once the root canal process is complete, you will then have to figure out what to do with the tooth, if anything at all. However, after a root canal the subject tooth can become very dry and brittle, making it much more of a breaking risk. A dental crown or cap is usually recommended in order to restore and protect the tooth properly for the long term. Root canals have extremely high success rates, but every now and then there can be rare complications with the infection coming back which may require another root canal or even removal of the tooth all together. The only alternative to having a root canal done would be the complete removal of the tooth in question which would then mean getting a dental bridge or dental implant.
If you think you may need a root canal or are experiencing pain, don’t hesitate to see a dentist. This can be a serious issue that can worsen over time and will not resolve itself.