What is Root Canal Therapy and should you fear it?

Root canal therapy sounds a bit scary—like a long, drawn-out procedure. However, it is not that way at all. It is a process whereby the infected pulp of your tooth is removed to prevent further damage and pain. Root canal therapy can be completed in as few as one or two visits.Root canal therapy is performed when a tooth gets infected with decay or fractures to the point that a normal filling will not suffice. If not treated correctly, it can spread to cause problems with your gums or the nerves and blood vessels in your jaw. While a root canal is not a fun option, it is better to opt for a root canal than to suffer with the pain and continued damage that might be caused otherwise. Scared? Let’s replace any fear with knowledge.

What Happens during a Root Canal?

  • X-Ray – The first step is to check the infected tooth to determine the damage and decide what needs to be done.
  • Numbing – After evaluating the extent of the damage, next comes the numbing. This will be as quick and painless as possible. If you focus on smiling, it’s been found to help you think less about any pain you might feel.
  • Protect the area – Next, a rubber sheet is placed around the tooth to protect it from any bacteria in your mouth getting into the tooth.
  • Drill – Using a dental drill, a small opening is made into the tooth in order to extract the infected pulp.
  • File – “Endodontic files” are then used to remove the pulp, clean out the inside of the tooth, and shape the walls of the root canals in the tooth.
  • Flush – The now-hollow tooth is flushed with a bleach solution to kill any bacteria and disinfect the tooth.
  • Reseal – The hollow tooth is then resealed with a rubbery material called “gutta percha” in place of the pulp.

After Care

After a root canal, your tooth could still be vulnerable. It is often recommended that treatment should continue with a crown or other type of build up. A crown can be placed on top of the tooth for extra protection. Crowns are made to match the shape of the existing tooth so that, without close inspection, no one can tell the difference. Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful in relieving the discomfort that is usually associated with root canal therapy.

Why get a Root Canal?

If the pulp in a tooth becomes infected, it will never be able to heal on its own. If left untreated, it can lead to painful and dangerous infections that can cause the tooth to abscess and possibly go into your jaw and then into the rest of your body. If diagnosed and treated early enough, tooth loss can be avoided. If not, more extensive procedures, extractions and implants may be necessary. Root canals are one of those necessary evils that protect you from more pain.

If you would like to learn more about root canal therapy in Knoxville, TN or are ready to schedule an appointment, please contact us. We are ready to help you with your dental needs.