What is the most pain you have ever felt?
It was probably a toothache, wasn’t it? A toothache is one of the most painful sensations a human can experience.
Poor dental hygiene often causes teeth to become infected by bacteria. If you have suffered toothache, you may have heard of a root canal. Let us break down what a root canal procedure entails.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal refers to the treatment used to repair a tooth damaged by decay or infection.
During the root canal procedure, the dentist removes the pulp inside the tooth then seals it. A root canal is necessary because the infected tooth begins spreading the infection and causing an abscess.
Within the tooth, the root canal is the naturally occurring cavity. In a healthy tooth, soft matter and nerves fill the cavity. However, when one neglects their dental hygiene, germs infect the cavity.
The nerves and soft matter within the root canal are not important to the functioning of the tooth. As such, when the root canal becomes infected, the dentist removes the contents; this procedure is the root canal treatment.
The function of the nerves within the root canal is only sensory.
The nerves are the part of the tooth that provides the sensation of hot or cold. The limited functionality of the nerves in the root canal is what makes it possible to remove them without loss of tooth functionality.
You will still be able to eat and chew normally, albeit with limited ability to sense heat or cold.
Why Root Canal
The root canal process is necessitated by the activity of germs, which damage the nerve tissue.
Bacteria infect and begin multiplying within the root canal, leading to an abscess in the tooth. An abscess within the tooth is the worst outcome because the infection can spread throughout the whole mouth.
A root canal empties the infected material within the tooth and stops the germs from spreading.
What to Expect During a Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure contains four key steps. The dentist performs the procedure in two sessions. Here are the steps.
1. Anesthesia Injection
In the root canal preparation, the dentist will use a needle to inject an anesthesia that makes the tooth numb to pain. The needle will cause a pinch. However, after the anesthesia sets in all pain will go away. The dentist then places a small sheet of rubber called a dental dam to isolate the tooth and keep it dry
2. Taking out the Diseased Contents
After making sure that the affected tooth is numb, the dentist will then use a small drill to cut the tooth and access inside it.
The dentist first cuts a small hole at the top of the tooth then uses a file to take out the diseased material inside the tooth. It is during this step that the dentist will take out the infected nerves. The dentist might put an antibacterial solution to ensure that the inside of the tooth is free from all bacteria.
The second step of the procedure will be relatively painless because of the anesthesia. Without it, a patient might feel too much pain to go through with the procedure, especially due to the elimination of the tooth nerves.
3. Filling the Chamber
The third step after emptying the diseased content is filling it up. The dentist will use a rubbery material to fill the empty cavity. The dentist will then close the tooth opening with a temporary filling before a more permanent filling is put in place.
After the third step, the standard procedure is to wait for several weeks for the inside of the tooth to heal. Waiting for the tooth to heal is important because putting in place a permanent crown prematurely might cause germs to reappear.
The dentist will send the patient away with advice on the right dental hygiene steps to take to ensure the emptied tooth does not become infected. The need to wait is why a root canal takes place over two dentist visits.
4. Placing a Permanent Crown
The final procedure in the root canal is placing a permanent crown. After the tooth has sufficiently healed, the dentist will restore the top of the tooth. The placing of the permanent crown completes the root canal procedure.
After the Procedure
The root canal procedure is relatively painless because of the anesthesia.
However, after you are out of the dentist’s office, you may feel heightened sensitivity in the tooth. The gums may also be inflamed due to the procedure and the healing infection. As such, pain medication will come in handy.
If the pain seems to increase, talk to the dentist. One of the tips to prevent aggravating the healing tooth is to avoid hard and chewy foods.
It is important to note that root canals are very safe.
However, you may wish to discuss options with the dentist to address any anxiety. Even though it is painless, the sensation of someone tugging at teeth inside the mouth can be unconformable.
For this reason, you may opt to be sedated during the procedure.
Root canals are very successful procedures, according to dentists.
Some dentists record success rates of up to 90% among their patients. However, outcomes at an individual level vary due to several factors.
First, if the pulp was too damaged, it lowers the chances of success. People with complex canal systems also tend to provide a greater challenge to dentists during the procedure. The state of the other teeth also plays a role because if they are infected, then they pose a risk to the fixed tooth.
Maintaining Good Dental Hygiene
We hope we have busted myths you may have had about a root canal procedure. It is not painful, and neither does it put you at risk of contracting any disease.
Remember, though, that good dental hygiene is crucial after the procedure to prevent reinfection. Depending on how bad the infection was, you may need to visit the dentist to check the healing progress.
If you would like to learn more about dental hygiene, check out our website.