Your Guide to Root Canals: The information you must know

Root Canal Illustration

Your Guide to Root Canals: The information you must know

A Root Canal is a routine procedure that has gathered a bad reputation when past methods made it a painful experience. Modern root canals are relatively pain free and a relatively routine dental treatment. This guide will give you all the information you need to know before your visit, what to expect during the procedure, expectations in terms of pain and what to discuss with your dentist before agreeing to a root canal.

If you are left with more questions, give Upland Dental Group & Implant Center in Upland, CA a call to speak with a dentist who can answer your questions. Call us at (909) 985-1966 to set up an appointment today.

What is a root canal?

To put it simply, a root canal preserves a dead tooth. Essentially the tooth has become infected and in order to save the tooth’s functionality the infected tissue is removed and the tooth is then filled and saved so that no more infection can occur.

A root canal is a great alternative to removing the tooth. Pulling the tooth may require a replacement with an implant or a prosthetic to fill the hole in your jaw. This is important to do because a lost tooth can cause the jaw bone to decay at the missing tooth site, dramatically changing the shape of your face.

A root canal removes the infected tissue in the tooth, leaving behind a brittle tooth prone to fracture. The root canal requires a second procedure shortly afterward: the creation of a crown. The crown is a rigid covering that is stronger than enamel to preserve the structural integrity of the tooth and prevent the tooth from breaking.

What are the benefits of getting a root canal?

Getting a root canal means that you don’t have to extract the tooth, so you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on getting an implant or prosthetic. You get to keep your tooth and the crown will keep the strength of your tooth in tact. You also don’t lose the jaw bone around your tooth, so your natural jaw shape is kept in tact.

Some cons to a root canal include the fact that no root canal will fully clean out the infection. It can also be difficult to sit for the few hours that are required for the procedure with your mouth open the whole time.

What’s the actual procedure like?

The toughest part of the procedure is having to sit in the dentist chair for a few hours with your mouth open the entire time. During the procedure, your dentist will removed the infected or inflamed pulp and carefully clean out and shape the inside of the tooth and then fill and seal the space so its closed off to infection.

You will get a deep, full local anesthesia, which is generally more than is required for a filling as the dentist will be removing the nerve present in the pulp. There will be multiple x-rays taken to ensure the instruments are in the correct location to remove the infected pulp. The dentist may place a sheet of latex, known as a rubber dam, over your mouth to keep bacteria out of your mouth and prevent you from swallowing medications. It essentially isolates the tooth from the oral environment and in some cases helps the dentist perform the root canal.

Then you’ll need to return to the dentist to get the crown placed on the tooth to protect it so that you can once again chew on that tooth and use it just like the rest of your teeth.

Important questions to ask

Before agreeing to a root canal, ask your dentist the following questions:

  • Is this procedure absolutely necessary?
  • Is there any possibility the tooth will recover?
  • Why did the pulp die?
  • What are all my options?
  • What will happen if I don’t do the procedure?
  • Should I just go for an implant?
  • How predictable is the treatment?
  • Do I need to go to a specialist?

Some dentists will want to do the procedure of the root canal over a few appointments. There really is no perfect option. The multiple sessions are useful as they can allow the tooth to dry out and give the dentist another chance to clean out the infection.

If you have more questions to ask, give Upland Dental Group & Implant Center in Upland, CA a call to speak with a dentist who can answer your questions. Call us at (909) 985-1966 to set up an appointment today.

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