A root canal procedure serves to repair and save a tooth that has been badly damaged or is infected. It involves removing the damaged pulp from your tooth followed by cleaning and disinfecting the treatment area. After getting a root canal, your tooth will be filled to prevent further damage or infection. Typical ways your pulp can be affected include a deep cavity, trauma, a cracked or broken tooth, or repeated dental treatment. The procedure’s name is derived from the process of cleaning the canals in your tooth roots. At Weissman Dental, we routinely perform root canals with excellent clinical outcomes.
Understanding the Root Canal Procedure
In the not so distant past, root canal procedures were quite painful. However, advances in technology and local anesthetics have made it so that most people today feel little to no discomfort. Therefore, having a root canal is nothing to be concerned about. We understand that some patients may have dental phobias and we can discuss sedation methods prior to the procedure if this is the case for you.
First, we will administer the type of anesthesia we have discussed for your situation, with most root canals being performed using only local anesthesia. We will then place a dental dam over your affected tooth to keep it free of saliva. Next, we will create an opening through the crown of the tooth (or through the back of a front tooth) and remove all of the diseased pulp. This is known as a pulpectomy. Once we’ve cleaned the pulp chamber and root canals of the tooth, we will shape it in preparation for a filling of gutta percha material. If your situation requires more than one appointment, we will fill the canals with a temporary filling until your next visit, when we will replace the temporary filling with a permanent one that is cemented in your tooth. In some cases, we may need to place a plastic or metal rod in a canal for structural support. For the final step, we will place a permanent crown over your tooth to restore its natural shape, function, and appearance. If your tooth is badly broken, we may need to use a post to build it up before placing your crown.
Planning for Your Root Canal
Many of our patients worry that their root canal will be painful, which was true in the past. However, modern surgical techniques and anesthesia options have made this procedure just as comfortable as getting a filling. The infected tooth that needs the procedure is the source of pain, and a root canal removes the infection. If a root canal isn’t performed in a timely manner, your tooth can become abscessed and lead to serious problems, including infection in other parts of your body or bone loss around the infected tooth.
A tooth treated and restored with a root canal procedure can last your lifetime with proper care. The expert team at Weissman Dental performs this procedure with great success rates that can help you avoid more complex and expensive procedures if the tooth is left untreated. Call our office at (503) 274-2222 if you are having persistent tooth or jaw pain.