Getting to the Bottom of Root Canals
Just the words “root canal” fill many with dread. Today, however, the advances in treatment and technology have patients reporting that this procedure is relatively comfortable and painless, not much more uncomfortable than a routine filling. Any apprehension you may have should be tempered with the realization that a root canal is literally a tooth-saving procedure.
What Is a Root Canal?
The enamel of a tooth is the hardest material in our body. Within it lies the soft inner pulp where the nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels that are needed by a developing tooth reside. Since the pulp is living tissue, it is subject to damage and infection, which your body will alert you to through sensations of sensitivity or pain in that region. Because the bone that keeps your tooth connected to your jaw can become damaged, an infection puts you at high risk of losing the tooth completely.
The good news is that once a tooth is fully developed, it doesn’t require the inner pulp to survive because the tooth also receives nourishment from surrounding tissues. The root canal procedure gives us the opportunity to remove the infection by removing the pulp while retaining the tooth itself.
Before beginning treatment, we will do imaging to obtain a clear picture of the tooth and surrounding bone. Then, a local anesthesia will be applied so that the root canal itself will be painless. During the procedure:
- Protection is placed over the area to isolate the tooth from saliva and keep it clean and dry.
- An opening is made in the crown of the tooth and the infected pulp is removed from the inside.
- Once the interior is clean and dry, the tooth cavity will be filled and the opening in the crown is closed with a temporary filling.
- In a subsequent visit, we will finish the treatment by replacing the temporary filling with a permanent crown or similar restorative.
Now, saving your tooth by doing that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? You may have a follow-up later in addition to your regular checkups for further imaging to make sure the infection has been totally cleared. In some cases, the tooth may lack structural integrity after the root canal and a post may be placed inside the tooth to strengthen it.
Our goal is to save your tooth and remove your pain. We serve patients in Roseville, California, and the surrounding areas, so contact our office today and together we can come up with a treatment plan that will allow you to enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile.