Root canals are the hollow channels reaching from the central chamber to the bottom of the tooth roots. The endodontic root canal treatment is often called by the same name; others in the dental field refer to it as a root canal procedure, therapy, or surgery.
When one experiences tooth pain or has a deep cavity, the dentist may determine that a root canal procedure is necessary. First an x-ray of the tooth is taken to find out how close the damage is to the nerve inside the pulp chamber of the tooth. Often, if a cavity is found to be near the pulp, the pulp will have already become infected. In this case a root canal procedure will eliminate the pain and remove any infected tissue. If tooth infection is allowed to continue untreated, the patient may lose the tooth completely, necessitating a dental implant or bridge.
Root canal treatment starts by cleaning out damaged areas of the tooth. This is generally performed under local anesthetic, so the root canal procedure is generally no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. Once the dentist has breached the pulp chamber, further anesthetic may be injected directly into the nerve of the tooth. This effectively deadens any further pain.
The tissue is removed within the pulp chamber and any remaining nerve is cleaned from the root chambers. Once the dental pulp tissue has been cleared, the dentist widens the root canal slightly and straightens the pulp chamber to prepare it for filling. The inside of the tooth is then disinfected. Once the tooth has been properly prepared, it is filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha filling. The pulp chamber is packed with cotton, and a temporary filling is used to seal the opening. During a succeeding visit, the temporary filling is removed, and the pulp chamber is filled with a core buildup, and the tooth is repaired with a crown.
Root canal procedures have earned a misleading reputation for pain. During root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp tissue of the affected tooth is removed. This is done to eliminate the pain from a damaged tooth and to remove infected tissue. The empty space is filled, and the tooth is capped with a crown. A tooth that has undergone root canal therapy should be pain-free and structurally strong.
The reality is that in most cases the pain after a root canal treatment is less than the throbbing that you would experience by leaving damaged root canals untreated. There are a variety of sedation dentistry methods that can be used to make your experience more comfortable and stress-free.