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What Can I Expect During a Root Canal

Feb 17, 2023
What Can I Expect During a Root Canal
A root canal plays an important role in preserving a badly damaged tooth, relieving painful symptoms while preserving your natural smile. If you need root canal treatment, here’s what to expect during your appointment.

Every year in the United States, 15 million teeth are treated with root canal therapy (RCT), a state-of-the-art procedure focused on preserving your natural teeth and preventing tooth loss or extraction. But despite its important role in oral health, root canal therapy is often misunderstood, suffering from an unfortunate misconception that RCT is especially uncomfortable.

The fact is, today’s advanced root canal techniques are designed to keep you comfortable throughout every step of this important treatment. What’s more, they remain a safe, effective way to treat deep infection while helping you maintain your beautiful smile.

At DNTL StudioValay Desai, DDS, and Prashant Amin, DDS, help patients at their Upland, California, practice avoid tooth loss with state-of-the-art root canal treatment tailored to their needs. If a root canal is in your future, here’s what you can expect during your visit.

The important role of root canals

Many people think of a tooth as being a solid material, but teeth have layers, and the innermost layer is called the pulp. The pulp extends from the center of your tooth to the tip of the root, encased in a channel or canal — the root canal. This is also where your tooth’s nerves and blood supply are found.

Tooth decay in the more superficial layers of your tooth usually can be treated with fillings. But when decay and infection occur in the pulp part of your tooth, you need a root canal to eliminate the damaged pulp and preserve your tooth’s structure.

Root canals remove the damaged nerve as well, and afterward, your tooth needs to be protected with a crown. The crown is placed at a follow-up visit, providing an added layer of strength while helping your treated tooth blend in with its neighbors.

By avoiding tooth loss, root canal therapy preserves your natural bite balance and eliminates the need for a denture, bridge, or implant. For all these reasons, root canals can play a vital role in preserving oral health and maintaining your beautiful, natural smile.

What to expect during your treatment

Just before your root canal treatment, your dentist administers a local anesthetic to your gum, followed by an injection that blocks pain signals around the tooth itself. These methods ensure you stay comfortable throughout your root canal treatment. Your dentist also places a small rubber “dam” around your tooth to keep saliva at bay. 

With your tooth prepared, your dentist drills a tiny hole in your tooth to provide access to the central pulp portion. Using special instruments, they remove the damaged pulp, along with the infected material and damaged nerve. 

Once the pulp is removed, the next step is to thoroughly clean the canal and fill it with a special biocompatible material called gutta-percha. Finally, your dentist shapes your tooth to prepare it for your crown, applying a temporary crown for protection while your final crown is made.

On your second visit, the temporary crown is removed and your permanent crown is installed. Once your root canal is complete, regular checkups help keep your crown in good shape while professional cleaning helps keep future decay and infections at bay.

Don’t ignore that painful tooth

Having a toothache doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need a root canal. The only way to know which treatment is best is to have a dental exam so we can evaluate your tooth. 

But regardless of what’s causing your tooth pain, one thing remains the same: Pain should never be ignored. Delaying care will almost certainly make the underlying problem worse, which means you could need more extensive treatment or develop a more serious infection in the meantime.

If you’re having tooth pain or sensitivity, take the next step toward relieving those symptoms and improving your oral health. Call DNTL Studio to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.