Root canals are needed when there is a infection deep within the tooth. The centre of the tooth can become infected with bacteria because of an injury or an untreated cavity (filling). Without root canal treatment, the infection can become severe enough that the tooth has to be removed.
Using a needle, your Plaza Health dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the tooth. It’s common to feel a bit of a pinch in the area when the needle goes in. After the area is numb, a small sheet of rubber that isolates the tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure is placed around the tooth.
Your Plaza Health dentist will then make a small hole in the top portion of the tooth. Then, small files are used to clear away the damaged and diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth. The dentist will also use the files to shape the inner chamber of the tooth and root and irrigate the tooth with water to wash away any remaining pulp. Your dentist might also put an antimicrobial solution in the chamber to kill any remaining bacteria and reduce the risk for further infection.
Once the centre of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried, it will be filled. A rubber-like material called gutta percha is often used. The dentist will close the opening in your tooth with a temporary filling, while you wait for the permanent crown.
After a few weeks, your dentist will finish the treatment by placing a permanent crown on the top of the tooth. Depending on the condition of your natural tooth, the dentist may need to place a small supporting post inside of the root chamber, to make the crown or restoration more stable.
Taking good care of your teeth and gums is a must after a root canal. You might need to schedule an additional visit with the Plaza Health dentist to X-ray the treated tooth and to make sure that all signs of infection are gone, in addition to your twice-yearly dental cleanings and exams. It’s important to keep up a good oral care routine at home, including brushing twice a day with a toothpaste that fights germs for 12 hours. With care and attention, a tooth treated with a root canal can stay healthy for the rest of your life.