A root canal is a procedure that involves the removal of the damaged pulp tissue, which is located in the center of the tooth. The infected tissue is replaced with gold, platinum, ceramic, or other materials. The procedure is typically performed by dentists, who use special drills to remove infected, injured, or inflamed pulp. It takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete a root canal procedure. However, this time frame depends on the severity of damage or infection in your tooth. If you want to preserve the structure of your teeth by removing your damaged or infected pulp, consider a Temecula root canal procedure. Learn more about the steps involved during your first root canal appointment.
1. Anesthetic Application
Before receiving your root canal treatment, your dentist injects a local anesthetic into your gums. The numbing agent will numb the area around your tooth and reduce any pain associated with having a root canal.
The anesthetic injections can be painful. However, the pain is usually moderate and develops as a sharp pinch or burning sensation. If you are concerned about the discomfort, consult your doctor on ways they can help you minimize your anxiety.
2. Placement of a Rubber Dam
A rubber dam is a thin layer of latex plastic placed over the tooth and supported by suction. It helps to keep your mouth dry during your root canal treatment and isolates the treatment area from your oral environment.
Your dentist leaves the rubber dam for about 30 minutes after preparing your tooth for treatment. You can also ask your dentist if they have any alternatives to replace a rubber dam, such as gaze pieces or a saliva ejector.
3. Pulp Removal
After placing a rubber dam, your dentist drills a hole through your tooth and into the infected pulp. They use a high-speed drill, which rotates at thousands of revolutions per minute and produces a hole approximately 1 millimeter wide.
After exposing the damaged or infected pulp, your dentist carefully removes it using specialized tools known as files. Afterward, they clean out all the canals in your tooth. This step helps clear out all the settled bacteria to prevent future reinfections.
4. Tooth Cleaning
After your dentist removes the damaged pulp, they clean, medicate and seal the inside of your tooth. They might use an antibiotic as a medication to clear away the infection and prevent reinfection. Once your canals are clean and disinfected by your dentist, they fill and seal your tooth with various materials such as sealer paste or gutta-percha. Depending on the severity of your infection, they might also prescribe oral antibiotics.
5. Tooth Filing
During the final step of your root canal treatment, your dentist might restore your tooth with a filling or crown. A filling occupies the hole left by the removal of the pulp. A crown protects and restores function to your tooth’s surface by replacing damaged areas with durable materials. Crowns are usually made from either porcelain or metal, depending on what material you choose for your restoration. They help maintain a strong bond between your tooth and underlying gum tissue so that you do not experience discomfort when eating or speaking.
Most dental problems are fixable. If you notice any unusual symptoms on your tooth, such as pain, sensitivity, and swelling, visit your dentist immediately to prevent further dental complications. They will first perform a proper diagnosis to determine the cause of your symptoms. They might recommend a root canal procedure if they notice your pulp is infected or damaged.