- December 5, 2015
Anyone with dental care experience has heard of root canals. Even if you’ve never had one performed on yourself you’re probably familiar with this most horrible of dental care procedures. But do you know what a root canal actually is? Has anyone in your family had a root canal? If so you probably know that the reality is much different than the stories make root canals out to be.
At Shorewood Family Dental Care we perform a lot of root canals. They’re a very common part of dental care and are done for a very important reason: saving your teeth! Without root canals the only other option would be to extract a tooth and we never want to do that if we can avoid it. Today we want to talk about what a root canal is so that you better understand this tooth-saving procedure.
Why Get A Root Canal?
When you get a cavity the bacteria that causes it floods in to fill the hole. Because your brushing and flossing rinses away bacteria it’s always looking for a good place to hide, and what better place then a cavity?
When bacteria takes up residence inside a tooth it keeps making the cavity larger. In many cases this means the cavity keeps heading toward the root of the tooth where the dental pulp resides. Dental pulp is a soft tissue filled with blood vessels and nerve endings that keep your teeth alive and healthy. When oral bacteria reaches the root it quickly becomes infected, and is also one of the largest causes of toothaches.
Root canals are performed in order to remove that infected dental pulp. If left untreated an infected root can spread into the gums, jaw, and bloodstream – a dangerous prospect!
How Do Root Canals Work?
If you’re concerned about the supposed pain of root canals don’t worry – you’ll be completely numbed up before the procedure begins – you won’t feel a thing! If you’re still nervous about your root canal we can also offer several different levels of sedation to help you get through the procedure fear-free!
Once you’re comfortable and ready for your root canal we’ll start by removing all the decayed portions of your tooth. This opens up a pathway to the root of your tooth where the infected pulp resides. Depending on the size of the cavity we may need to do some slight widening of the opening in order to reach the roots of your teeth.
Because performing a root canal is a very precise procedure we’ll measure the depth of your roots electronically. This is so we know precisely how far to go when removing your dental pulp. The removal itself is done with small hand tools that remove the infected tissue and allow us to completely clean out the root of your tooth.
After we’ve sterilized it and removed bacteria we’ll fill your tooth with a rubber-like material called gutta percha. This seals off your teeth while remaining flexible like the actual tissue at the root – that’s an important part of making sure your teeth stay healthy and just a little bit flexible!
Once the procedure is complete we’ll take a digital impression of your tooth so that we can have a lifelike crown made for you. The crown will cover and protect your tooth so that it will last for a lifetime without having to worry about any sensitivity or secondary infection issues at all.
The Results Of A Root Canal
If all of that sounds painful please realize it isn’t! You’ll be numbed up during the procedure and the goal of a root canal is to ease the pain caused by an infected tooth. Once the bacteria and inflamed dental pulp is removed you’ll feel a lot better. Many of our patients actually report feeling relief as soon as the anesthesia wears off.
You’ll wear a temporary crown while we wait for your permanent one to get back from the dental lab, which usually takes about two weeks. Once it’s back you’ll be free to enjoy life pain-free with a lifelike crown and a tooth that will last for years to come!
Don’t Avoid Treating A Toothache
In most cases where root canals are needed you’ll know it because of the pain, but that isn’t always the case. That’s why regular dental care is needed to identify potential problems early on. With good proactive exams and cleanings we’ll be able protect your teeth for years to come!
Don’t avoid treating pain or seeing the dentist – call Shorewood Family Dental Care today at 815-768-1615 or request an appointment by filling out our online form.