A root canal, or endodontic, treatment is a dental procedure which is performed to remove an infection that has infested the inner core tissue and the nerve inside the root of the tooth. The doctor will clean out the canals of the tooth to remove bacteria and infected pulp. A medication may be placed in the tooth to help clear the infection. After the root canal is performed, a filling will be put in place to cover the affected area. The tooth is then usually capped with a dental crown.
A root canal is performed when a tooth becomes infected. This can occur because of a cavity that is left unaddressed, resulting in severe tooth decay that reaches the center of the tooth where the nerve is housed. A root canal procedure may also be necessary if the tooth becomes fractured, exposing the nerve and inner pulp to infection. By performing a root canal treatment, your dentist can clear the tooth from infection, restoring normal function and saving it from further decay, loss, or removal.
Once you and your dentist have decided that a root canal is the right option for you, not much preparation is required prior to the procedure. However, each case is different so please call the office to ask if you have any specific restrictions or concerns with regard to the root canal.
During the appointment, your doctor will first apply anesthetic so that the tooth will be numb and you will not experience pain or discomfort during the root canal treatment. The dentist will then create a canal in the top of the tooth in order to access the inside. The inflamed pulp will be removed from the core of the tooth, and the infection will be drained from it. Medication may be introduced to the inside of the tooth in order to help stop the infection. Temporary materials will be placed in the canal to close up the opening and seal the tooth. Depending on the severity of the infection, an antibiotic prescription may be given. All told, this appointment will take about an hour.
The tooth may have some minor soreness following the procedure, but this should subside on its own within two to three days. After most root canals are completed, a dental crown will be placed over the top of the damaged tooth in order to protect it from further damage and infection.