In cases of severe damage or disease, a dentist may recommend Endodontic Therapy to their patient. This procedure is commonly known as a root canal. It is reserved for teeth that have a deep infection and are at risk of being pulled. Instead of extracting the tooth, the dentist will first try a root canal. Many people are afraid of root canals because of a social stigma. This procedure, while lengthy, is completely painless. Understanding each step of the procedure may help put fearful patients at ease.
Preparing the Mouth
At the start of the procedure, the dentist will make sure the patient’s mouth is completely numb. First, a numbing gel will be applied to the gum tissue. After a few minutes, the dentist will use a very thin needle to inject procaine or another numbing agent into the patient’s mouth. Placement is very strategic. The area around the affected tooth will become completely numb; however, the rest of the patient’s mouth will still have sensation. For extremely anxious patients, the dentist may choose to also administer nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas.
Cleaning the Tooth
Once the patient is numbed, the dentist will begin the Endodontic Therapy procedure. Using a small drill, the dentist will open the tooth. They will drill into the crown of the tooth and down into the infected root. Any infected soft tissue, known as pulp, is removed. The hollowed out tooth is then thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. This will prevent any future infections from forming.
Sealing the Tooth
After the tooth is cleaned, the dentist will fill the open chambers with a rubber-like substance. This material is called gutta-percha. It is cemented into place, creating an air-tight seal. The crown of the tooth is then covered with a traditional dental filling. In most cases, the dentist will opt for a silver filling over a composite one. Silver fillings are more durable than other materials.
Once the tooth is sealed, the procedure is complete. Vistafamilydental recommends a follow-up appointment so the patient can be fitted for a dental crown. Covering the treated tooth with a crown will reinforce the tooth, making it less susceptible to cracking. If the patient was experiencing pain before the root canal, it would be gone after the procedure. Many teeth have been saved from extraction thanks to this helpful procedure.