My Dentist Says I Need a Root Canal – What Does That Mean?

So you’ve just heard your dentist say you need a root canal? It’s a scary phrase if you’re not sure what root canal therapy entails. We’re here to ease your worries about this dental procedure.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Before defining root canal therapy, we have to define what a root canal is. Your tooth contains a root that has pulp in it. Pulp is the soft tissue composed of blood vessels and nerves within your tooth. Root canal therapy is needed when this pulp becomes infected or inflamed.

Root canal therapy can also be referred to as endodontic treatment. Endodontic is composed of two Greek words: endo, meaning inside, and odont, meaning tooth.

Causes

Infection or inflammation of your root canal can be caused by many different things such as tooth decay, injury, or a deep cavity. Infection can even occur on teeth that have had repeated dental procedures. You can have symptoms such as pain, swelling, or tenderness. You could even experience no symptoms at all. Having routine check-ups with your dentist is the best way to identify an infected canal.

Root Canal Therapy Step-by-Step

At Tower Dental Associates, when we perform root canal therapy, we will remove the infected pulp, clean and disinfect the canal, reshape it, and then fill the canal with temporary filling.

Before the Procedure

Endodontic treatment typically requires 1-3 visits with your dentist, depending on the severity of each case. Before the procedure begins, we will take x-rays of your mouth to fully see the infection. You will then be given anesthetic with a needle into your mouth to numb it. We will then put something called a “dental dam” into your mouth to make sure the area they are working on remains sterile and free from saliva.

During the Procedure

The great thing about root canal therapy is that it’s virtually painless. During treatment, our doctors will drill a small hole into the infected tooth to expose the canal. They will then remove the infected pulp and clean the canal. Finally, we’ll will reshape the canal and fill it with a temporary filling. This filling is called gutta-percha and is rubber-like. In some cases, a post may be put into the canal to support the newly reshaped canal.

After the Procedure

On your final visit, our doctors will remove the temporary filling and place a permanent cap on the restored tooth to protect it. The most common cap is a dental crown. If the tooth is located near the front of your mouth, your cap may be porcelain or ceramic to match your natural teeth. For back teeth, crowns are typically made with gold, metal, or acrylic because they are durable.

Benefits of Endodontic Treatment

Endodontic treatment offers patients many benefits besides saving infected teeth. Patients can find relief from pain in an efficient and cost effective way. Teeth that undergo root canal therapy last a lifetime with proper dental care and regular check-ups!

Root Canal Therapy with Tower Dental

Root canal therapy isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds. At Tower Dental, our team makes sure every step of the process is comfortable for you. Trust the professionals at Tower Dental Associates with your endodontic treatment!

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