Root Canal Procedure
Root Canal Treatments (or root canals) can have a bad reputation and often contribute to patient stress/anxiety. However, they don’t have to! Dr. Dan is happy to take the time to explain the procedure and answer all of your questions. The following explains how a root canal is performed, and sometimes understanding the procedure helps to reduce stress.
A small access hole is drilled through the biting surface of an affected back tooth or from behind a front tooth. This allows access to the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth for treatment. This is not painful; your tooth will be numb at this point. Think of it as similar to having a filling done.
The infected nerve is removed from the tooth with specially designed instruments that clean out the root canal(s) and pulp chamber. The canal(s) are disinfected with an antibacterial solution, then dried with absorbent points inserted into the canal(s).
Root canal fillings are selected to exactly fit into the freshly prepared canal(s). Together with adhesive cement called a sealer, the filling material fills the prepared canal space. Sealing the canal(s) is critically important to prevent them from becoming reinfected with bacteria.
If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold a filling in place, the dentist may place a post in one of the canals to help retain a filling. At this point, a filling is placed on top of the access hole. It is strongly recommended that you have a crown (also called a cap) placed within 6 months of having a root canal treatment. This helps to prevent catastrophic failure; once the procedure is done teeth become brittle and break easily due to lack of blood supply.