What Is Root Canal Therapy? Here’s What You Need to Know

What Is Root Canal Therapy? Here’s What You Need to Know

Mar 01, 2021

Anyone who has ever had a toothache can attest to how excruciating it can be. The sleepless nights are nothing to look forward to. Even though your teeth are strong, they can get weak either through negligence or over-consuming acidic foods. This exposes your teeth to decay, and you might need treatment if you want to salvage your teeth.

Root canals by far are the best solution for treating decayed teeth, especially if the tooth structure is still intact. Our endodontists will provide the necessary oral health care that you need so that you do not lose your teeth.

However, just the thought of getting a root canal instills fear in the hearts of many people. Even some might think that the procedure is unbearable. But this isn’t the case. Let’s dive a little deeper.

Root Canal Therapy Overview

Your root canal is located in the inner part of your tooth. This area is home to what is known as the dental pulp. As opposed to the visible hard outer covering that we know as enamel, the pulp is soft and contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels necessary to nourish and grow your teeth.

Proper oral health care is essential since it guarantees that your enamel stays healthy and strong to protect this inner softer part of your teeth. However, if the enamel is compromised, the pulp becomes exposed to bacteria, and food can get trapped in the root canal.

The pulp can be damaged because of any of the following reasons:

  • Bruxism (habitual grinding of your teeth)
  • Advanced gum disease
  • Trauma that damages the teeth
  • Decay underneath a filling
  • Untreated dental decay
  • Long-standing cracks in your teeth

Therefore, to protect your teeth from further damage, our endodontists will perform a root canal procedure. This procedure is normally done to remove the infected pulp and therefore salvage the decayed or damaged tooth.

Why Is It Essential to Remove the Pulp?

When your pulp is infected, and you do not get treatment, it can lead to further complications such as:

  • Bone loss at the tip of the tooth root
  • Drainage issues that can extend from the root to the surrounding tissue, including the gums and cheeks
  • Swelling that can spread from the gums to the neck and head or face

All this happens when the pulp is inflamed or infected, leading to the accumulation of bacteria in the pulp chamber. Shortly after, you will notice that your gums are swollen because of pus. This is what is known as an abscess.

When the infection has reached this far, there is no other way to treat it other than performing a root canal. This means that the pulp will be removed.

Most people are generally worried about losing their dental pulp. However, your tooth can survive without the pulp. The pulp is mostly needed when the tooth is developing. After development, the nerves serve a purely sensory purpose. This is why you will be sensitive to hot and cold sensations. This means that if the pulp is removed, the tooth will continue functioning as it should.

How to Prepare for a Root Canal

Root canals are designed to alleviate pain and improve your oral health. The procedure is painless; however, you need to adhere to the pre-operative instructions such as:

  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol 24 hours before you get a root canal
  • Eat before the procedure
  • Rest well before the procedure
  • Don’t take any pain medications before the procedure unless you have been instructed to do so by our Lakewood dentist
  • Continue with all your medications that are treating other conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

How Is It Done?

The procedure may take anywhere between one and three visits. Typically, this is what happens:

  • Removing the Root Canal
  • The area around the affected tooth will be numbed so that the procedure can be pain-free. Then, the tooth will be drilled for access. Finally, the bacteria and the decayed debris will be removed.

  • Preparing the Root Canal
  • The canal will be shaped after the dentist has confirmed that all the debris has been removed. Then, the canal will be flooded with a cleaning solution to ensure that it is disinfected. Gutta-percha, a rubber-like material, will be used to seal the canal.

  • Filling the Tooth
  • After the pulp has been removed, your tooth will be even more fragile. Therefore, the best way to protect it from further damage would be to use a dental crown.

If you need a root canal treatment, you can contact our Lakewood dentist at Station Dental Group in Lakewood to schedule an appointment.

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