Step-By-Step Root Canal Procedure
The goal of an endodontic procedure is always to save your tooth and relieve your pain. It is a cost-effective measure as opposed to extracting your tooth. Once you have been diagnosed and a root canal treatment recommended, this is the step-by-step procedure the endodontist will go through:
1. Tooth Imaging
First, the endodontist will need to take an x-ray to determine the extent of tooth damage and the location of the decay or inflamed tissue.
2. Applying anesthesia
Once the problem area is identified, the endodontist will apply local anesthesia to make the procedure as pain-free as possible. Most people fear that a root canal treatment will be very painful but you probably won’t feel a thing.
3. Placing the dental dam
The endodontist will then place a rubber-like protective sheet known as a dental dam to isolate the tooth and keep the area saliva-free. Small clamps can also be used to keep the dam in place.
4. Making an opening into the tooth
At this point, the specialist will make an opening through the crown of your tooth (if it is a molar) or behind the tooth (if it is one of the front teeth) to gain access to the pulp chamber.
5. Cleaning the tooth
Once inside the pulp chamber, the next step is to use small instruments to enlarge, shape, and clean the root canals. The infected or decaying pulp tissues will be removed from the tooth before the entire area is flushed and cleaned. Afterwards, the canals will be disinfected.
6. Sealing the tooth
When the area has been thoroughly cleaned, the next stage will be to fill up the tooth with a thermoplastic material called gutta-percha. This material is heated and compressed into the root canal and sealed inside using adhesive cement referred to as a sealer.
7. Finishing the Procedure
At the end of the treatment, the drilled hole is filled with a temporary filling and the dental dam is removed. The endodontist may prescribe some medication to help prevent infection. You will then be sent to a general dentist for a permanent restoration of the tooth either using filling material or a crown. After this, the treatment is complete.
It is important to note that sometimes it takes only one visit for the root canal treatment to be completed; whereas, in other cases, it may take two or three more visits. Don’t worry if you feel a bit of pain and tenderness on your tooth after treatment. This can be resolved with some over-the-counter painkillers. Root canal treatments are meant to last for many years. Nevertheless, a re-evaluation can be set up periodically to determine the status of the treatment.