A root canal is a common procedure performed on 15 million US patients annually. It is crucial for preventing further inflammation and tooth decay without damaging the remaining portion of the teeth. But many people have misconceptions about the procedure. Here is an outline of the root canal procedure from Compassionate Endodontics in New York.
Why is a root canal necessary?
A root canal is an endodontic treatment to remove inflammation and decay in the tooth. Your endodontist may recommend a root canal if the tooth’s pulp has an infection. The infection can cause excruciating pain.
The pulp, the inner part of the tooth, contains nerves that send signals of pain or sensitivity. Tooth fractures or enamel deterioration may expose the nerves, causing pain. Trauma around your mouth may also cause cracks and require a root canal treatment.
One advantage of a root canal over tooth extraction is that root canal therapy retains the tooth structure. However, removing the pulp weakens the tooth and makes it prone to fractures. But your endodontist will use dental appliances like crowns to prevent damage.
Signs you may need root canal treatment
Since the goal of a root canal is to treat infections, some notable symptoms are pain and sensitivity. If you experience persistent pain, it is usually a sign that the tooth has severe damage. While the discomfort does not always indicate the pulp is infected, you should visit an endodontist to confirm.
A swollen gum or jaw may suggest an abscess. The tissues accumulate pus and enlarge the gums. The area usually becomes tender and sensitive to touch. It may cause discomfort, making chewing food challenging.
If untreated, the infection may damage the jawbone and spread to other areas of your oral cavity. The pus can weaken the bone supporting the root, causing teeth to loosen.
Trauma or a tooth infection could also cause a grey-black discoloration on your tooth. The color change usually indicates nerve and tissue damage. Since the tooth is not getting enough nutrients and oxygen, it may take a long time to heal.
What to expect from the procedure
A root canal procedure typically takes between 30 minutes and an hour. The duration will depend on the nature of your treatment. Some patients may require treatments on several teeth, which may last more than 60 minutes.
The procedure begins with diagnostic tests, which usually involve conducting dental exams and x-rays. The results will determine if a root canal is an ideal treatment for your oral health problems.
Your dental specialist may use anesthesia like nitrous oxide or an IV sedation to numb the tooth’s root. A minute cut is made on the crown’s surface to create an opening and extract the pulp.
Endodontists utilize specialized instruments to remove the pulp effectively. The area is disinfected and carved appropriately to create space for a dental filling. Your dentist will seal the site and place a crown to protect the tooth from fractures and infections.
Contact Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC to schedule a root canal treatment or consultation today.