All About Root Canals

A Young African American Family

All About Root Canals

A Young African American Family

The thought of having a root canal done can be terrifying for a lot of people, but it’s not as scary as you may think. What’s even scarier is not going to the dentist when you need a root canal, because it can lead to sepsis and other parts of the body becoming infected.

If you have any dental fear or anxiety about getting a root canal, our experienced team wants to help you get the care you need.

What Is a Root Canal?

Besides being a part of your teeth, A root canal is an endodontic treatment that stops the spread of bacteria throughout your whole tooth and prevents it from infecting other parts of your body.

When Would I Need One?

You may need a root canal if you have a cavity that’s severe enough to go through the first two layers of your tooth, first the enamel and second the dentin, then make it into the pulp which is where the blood vessels and nerves are.

If you do have advanced tooth decay and an infected root canal, you may have a dental abscess which is a buildup of pus that can cause

  • Pain while chewing
  • Immense toothache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Difficulty Swallowing

One sign you may have a dental abscess is if you see a pimple protruding from your gums. The abscess may burst, in which case you’ll likely feel some pain relief, but you still need to see a dentist as soon as possible because now the bacteria can spread easier.

What Does the Process Look Like?

Root canal procedures have a number of steps to them. First, if your dentist hasn’t already taken x-rays of the affected area, they likely will. Next is numbing the tooth, nerves, and gums so you don’t feel any pain. You may feel a pinch at first, but this is only to inject the anesthetic.

The dentist will then place a dental dam, a small rubber sheet, in your mouth to protect the affected tooth and keep it clean and dry for the duration of the procedure. Then, using a specialized drill, they will open up the top of the tooth and using other small tools extract the infected pulp from inside the tooth.

The pulp cavity and root canals are then thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected. After all the debris has been removed and the internal tooth has been properly treated, the tooth is filled with gutta-percha, a thermoplastic filling originally derived from the Malaysian percha tree. Lastly, a permanent crown is fitted to the tooth.

Are There Any Alternative Procedures?

A pulpectomy is similar to a root canal, except there’s no permanent crown placed on the tooth. This procedure is generally only for children that have excessive tooth decay/trauma who haven’t had their permanent teeth come in yet. Another alternative is tooth extraction if your tooth is too severely decayed.

Ready for an Appointment?

Our dentists in Wayland and Coopersville want to help you have better oral health and less tooth/gum pain. To schedule an appointment with Robinson Dental, call any of our offices in Coopersville or Wayland.