New root canal technology is available to help preserve the infected tooth and provide better recovery. Our dentists know how to use new procedures to offer the best care while remaining affordable. What Is a Root Canal? The term “root canal” refers to a procedure but is also the space at the tooth’s root. It has a main canal, a pulp chamber, and some smaller channels that connect to root canals in other teeth or the root’s surface.
Bacteria can enter this area and create an infection. Sometimes it comes in through a broken tooth, a cavity, or through the gumline. This is what we call an abscessed tooth. The infection creates pain and swelling and the only option to save the tooth is a root canal procedure. Dentists remove the infected area and seal the tooth to prevent further infection. Is It Common? More than 41,000 root canals are done in the United States daily, totaling 15 million root canals every year.
An abscessed tooth may seem to come on suddenly but, in reality, the infection has probably been there for a while. It is only now that it has grown to the point of being painful. Below is a list of symptoms signaling that you may need a root canal.
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A dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics before your procedure to reduce infection. Be sure to eat a good meal before your appointment because you won’t be able to eat for a few hours after since your mouth will be numb.
Most dentists opt for local anesthesia but sometimes use general anesthesia for the procedure if the patient has high anxiety. A root canal procedure can take up to two appointments to complete but typically can be done in under an hour. It can take up to an hour and a half to complete procedures on larger teeth with more roots.
You will feel pressure and movement with local anesthesia but won’t feel pain. Many people feel immediate relief because the infection, which has caused pain for a while, is removed.
The root canal includes numbing the area, isolating the tooth, and making an opening in the crown to get to the pulp area. A dentist will then extract the pulp and the infection with tiny tools that look like small metal wires. The area is then cleaned and disinfected. The dentist then “shapes” the canal and filled the empty space with a dental material to prevent further infections.
A temporary filling is put on top of the tooth to prevent more bacteria from getting into the opening and a dental crown is placed on the tooth during a second visit to protect the tooth permanently.