What is a Root Canal?

Whether we’ve had a root canal procedure or not, we’ve all heard of it and we all cringe a little at the thought of it. However, very few of those not in the dental profession knows what goes into a root canal, which can make the process seem far scarier than it really is.

Our teeth have canals that run through them and contain the nerves. Since these canals are open at the bottom of the roots of our teeth, they are at constant risk for infection. If the canals do become infected, the infection can spread inside the teeth and grow to be very, very painful. The only way to cure this infection is with a root canal procedure.

Your dentist will have to drill into your teeth in order to remove the infected pulp and nerves, clean out the canals and fill them with synthetic fillers called gutta percha.  Since this involves your nerves, your dentist will administer some form of anesthesia, depending on the nature of the infection. Therefore, the anesthesia should be the most painful part of the procedure for you.

The dentist will then place a temporary filling on top of the gutta percha fillers and monitor your tooth over time to ensure that the infection has been completely removed. Once he is sure that the infection will not return, you will receive either a permanent filling or a crown. Most dentists prefer to use dental crowns because the root canal can greatly weaken the teeth.

Most root canals only take one to two visits (plus follow-up visits) to complete, but it could require additional visits if the damage is severe. The recovery time also varies depending upon the extent of the damage and the number of teeth involved. If the root canal was performed on just one tooth, then prepare for three to seven days of soreness and tenderness. Of course, if the infection was severe in just one tooth, the recovery time will be a little longer.

If you think you need a root canal or have any questions about an impending root canal, do not hesitate to contact us and ask us your questions or schedule an appointment.

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