What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is an endodontic treatment which means to repair the inside of the tooth, where the dental pulp is located. The dental pulp is made of connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves, which is why a tooth infection can feel so painful.
When bacteria enter the dental pulp either through the spread of tooth decay or from dental trauma, the pulp becomes inflamed and an abscess marks the sign of an infection. Once the tooth is infected, it will continue to worsen and spread unless you get a root canal.
Root canal therapy is a minimally invasive treatment that involves removing the source of the infection – the tooth’s pulp. Even though we’re removing the inside layer of the tooth, along with the roots, the tooth can still survive thanks to the nutrients it gets from surrounding tissues. The tooth is refilled to preserve its structure. Contact us at 320 Dental Studio to schedule a consultation.
Did you know…
Most root canals only take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
The gum disease treatment process
Dr. Haack will examine your tooth and take x-rays to look for the presence of an infection and determine how far it has progressed. This will help us determine if the tooth can still be salvaged with a root canal.
A root canal is painless because we administer local anesthesia that numbs your mouth.
Using a dental drill, we will make an access hole into the tooth and then scrape out all of the tooth’s pulp along with the roots.
Each tooth has between 1 to 4 canals. Each of the tooth’s canals is thoroughly cleaned to remove residual bacteria.
After the pulp has been removed and the canals have been cleaned, we will refill the tooth with gutta-percha. Dental cement ensures this filling seals the canals. Usually, the access hole is closed with a temporary filling until the next appointment.
Depending on the tooth, you may need a crown to protect the tooth from breakage.
Types of Root Canals
A deep cleaning is a more thorough cleaning than a traditional prophylaxis cleaning which only involves scaling above the gum line as well as polishing the teeth. In a deep cleaning, we numb your mouth with anesthetic to prevent discomfort and because the cleaning takes about 2 hours, it can be split into two appointments or done in one long appointment.
We will scale beneath the gum line to remove plaque and tartar deposits from deep gum pockets. Then, root planing smooths out the tooth roots so that the receded gums can be reattached. This also prevents future bacteria collection.
Patients with periodontitis are recommended to return for regular deep cleanings to maintain their good oral health and prevent recurring gum disease.
A root canal in a back tooth involves thicker teeth with more surface area on the biting surface and more canals. This means they will typically involve using more anesthetic, the access hole will be made into the chewing surface, and it will take longer to clean the canals after removing the pulp.
The rear molars usually have 2 or 3 canals, but sometimes there is even a hidden 4th canal. This means that cleaning and reshaping the canals can take multiple appointments to remove all of the bacteria.
A temporary filling would be placed until the canals have been fully cleaned. Then, after placing gutta percha in the tooth, the tooth should be protected with a dental crown so the tooth doesn’t break under the force of chewing. This is because root canals weaken the teeth and the rear teeth are used for chewing.
Did you know…
A root canal is performed in 2 to 3 visits.
Have Questions About Root Canals? Find Answers Here.
Do Root Canals Hurt?
No, root canals are painless because they’re always performed under local anesthetic. You won’t feel any pain. The most you will feel is movement or pressure from dental tools moving around in the mouth.
Comparatively, avoiding getting a root canal will cause you much more pain because an infection can cause excruciating and debilitating pain that disrupts your day. The pulpectomy procedure will instantly remove the pain from the infection.
What Are the Signs of an Infected Tooth?
There are a few signs of an infection, such as discoloration of the tooth, lingering tooth sensitivity, a constant throbbing pain, swelling of the gums, face, and/or neck, abscess near the tooth, swollen lymph nodes, pain when chewing, and a chip in the tooth. However, it’s particularly the swelling and abscess that are giveaways for infection. If you notice these signs, you should book an emergency appointment right away.
What Is a Root Canal Retreatment?
Even though root canal treatment has a 95% success rate, sometimes root canals fail, either because some canals in the tooth were missed, the tooth had complicated anatomy, a crown wasn’t placed soon enough, the bacteria was resistant to treatment, or because new bacteria entered the tooth. In this case, the crown and filling would be removed, the tooth would be recleaned, and a new filling and crown would be placed. Essentially, it is a second root canal.
Did you know…
Root canal retreatment still has a high success rate, at about 75%.