A root canal procedure is a restorative process that is taken to save a tooth that has been significantly damaged by decay. If decay or infection has affected the nerve of a tooth, a root canal may be the best option. In a root canal procedure, the nerves, bacteria, decayed material, and the tissue inside the tooth called the pulp are all removed, leaving only the outer tooth structure. The empty space is then filled with a medicated dental material, which allows the tooth to function normally.
In most cases, a root canal is the only treatment option to save a tooth that would otherwise be destroyed by decay. While it is common for problematic teeth to be pulled rather than saved and restored, it is often more costly and damaging in the long run to remove a tooth than to undergo a root canal procedure.
A root canal procedure can be completed in one visit to the dentist, although additional appointments may be necessary. At the start of the treatment, a sheet of rubber is placed around the tooth to keep it dry. The dentist will then drill the top of the tooth, creating an opening. The pulp, nerve tissue, bacteria, and decay are all removed. The tooth is then cleaned and sealed with a filling.
Depending on the procedure the dentist may call for additional appointments, in which case the filling is temporary. If a follow-up appointment is required, the temporary filling will be replaced by permanent material. A filling then covers the top of the tooth. Finally, the tooth should be fit with a crown in order to protect it from damage.
Root canals can cause sensitivity and inflammation, but this will subside when the tooth has healed. Root canals should be performed while the tooth is numbed, so the procedure should not be painful during the treatment.
Root canal treatment has a high rate of success and can last a lifetime if precaution and care are taken. Your dentist will provide specific care instructions to aid in the life of your root canal treatment. New infections are still possible, so your teeth may need to be retreated in the future. You can keep your teeth healthy by practicing good oral hygiene and regularly visiting the dentist.
Feel free to call our office at (818) 832-3333 to learn more about the root canal procedure or any other services we provide. We will be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.