Root canal is a procedure used to either repair or save a tooth from complete decay or infection. This is often the last resort to save a tooth when an infection has spread into the pulp chamber. If you don’t go through with the root canal procedure, the infection may spread to the roots, infect other teeth, and perhaps necessitate emergency tooth extraction. In this article, we discuss the root canal procedure and how to find the best local dentist offices near me.
What’s A Root Canal? When Do You Need A Root Canal Treatment?
During the root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp have to be removed from within your tooth. Following that, the pulp chamber has to be cleaned and sealed. If you don’t treat the infected root canal, it will eventually get infected and may lead to a dangerous abscess.
To truly understand the root canal procedure, you need to also understand the anatomy of the tooth. The “root canal” is the cavity at the center of your tooth — the innermost layer of the tooth after the enamel and dentin layers. The root canal also holds the pulp chamber and the tooth’s nerve.
However, the nerve isn’t vital to the tooth’s functioning or health — its only purpose is to offer hot and cold sensations. As such, the removal of the nerve won’t affect your tooth on a day-to-day basis.
During the root canal procedure, the infected nerve tissues and pulp have to be removed. If you don’t do so, the bacteria will continue multiplying within the pulp chamber, which can lead to an infection or abscess. Dental abscesses are pus-filled pockets at the end of the roots of the tooth — if left untreated, they can lead to bone loss around the tooth, swelling, and drainage problems at the end of the tooth’s root.
What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment?
The root canal treatment requires one or two visits to the dentist or endodontist’s office. An endodontist is someone who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of issues pertaining to the pulp chamber of the tooth. Whether you should consult a regular dentist or an endodontist depends on the complexity of your root canal treatment. Your dentist will examine your tooth and determine who should proceed with the treatment. Your dentist will also discuss the treatment with you, so you know what to expect exactly.
The following is an overview of all the steps involved in the root canal procedure:
- The dentist will take an X-ray to examine the root canal and determine if the infection has spread into the surrounding tissues.
- The dentist will numb the region around the tooth with local anesthesia, so you don’t feel anything. This may not be necessary because the nerve may already be dead, but it’s a precautionary measure.
- Before the dentist starts working on your teeth, they’ll place a rubber dam around your teeth to prevent saliva from interfering.
- The dentist will drill an access hole into the tooth.
- They’ll remove all of the decayed tissues, nerved, and debris from the pulp chamber. This entire procedure is done using root canal files of various measurements. The dentist will scrape and scrub the sides of the root canal to remove all of the debris.
- Once the root canal has been cleared out, the dentist will use some water or sodium hypochlorite to flush away the remaining debris.
- Next, if the dentist deems it necessary, they may apply some medication inside the root canal to clear up an infection. If they choose to apply the medication, they’ll also apply a temporary filling to seal the tooth from external contaminants for about one week.
- After a week, the dentist will remove the temporary filling and seal the tooth using sealer paste or gutta-percha. Following that, they’ll seal the access hole with a filling. If they don’t apply medication, they’ll simply move on to this step directly.
- Finally, the dentist may recommend you get a dental crown to protect your weakened tooth. This isn’t necessary, but it’s highly recommended because your teeth may otherwise get damaged easily.
What is the Difference Between Root Canal and Teeth Filling?
The following are some of the key differences between a root canal and a regular tooth filling:
- Root canals repair damage that’s too severe for tooth fillings. Root canals are necessary if dental decay or infection spreads into the pulp chamber. Teeth filling is necessary if the dental decay is only present on the surface, i.e., enamel.
- During the root canal treatment, the dentist has to remove the dead nerves, pulp, and debris from within the tooth. During the tooth filling, the dentist only has to remove some of the surrounding enamel.
- Root canals are always done to clear away bacteria and protect the teeth. Tooth filing may also be done for cosmetic purposes to seal cracks.
Where Can I Find Reliable Dentists for my Dental Treatment?
The following are some tips on how to find the best dental places near me:
- Look for a board-certified dentist with a strong educational background.
- The dental clinic should have the latest technologies and offer the most advanced dental treatments.
- They should use BPA-free dental fillings and products.
- Look for a pediatric dentist if you have a family with children.
- The dental clinic should be located in a good neighborhood.
- Look for a dentist who accepts all major insurance plans.