The root canal procedure is certainly one of the more dreaded procedures in dentistry. I'm sure we all know someone who has gone through it, and they may have their own story to tell about the procedure. While being nervous about having a root canal done is okay, you do not need to be as worried about it as you might think. So, to help you overcome any anxiety about the procedure, we will spend some time going over exactly what it is all about.
Though the procedure is common, not everyone needs a root canal, and many people will go their whole lives without one. A root canal is necessary when the soft interior of a tooth - the pulp - decays and becomes inflamed or infected. In some cases, the crown of the tooth remains healthy while the pulp is damaged. The pulp of a tooth can become damaged when there is a chip or crack in the tooth, deep cavity or decay, or some sort of impact to the tooth that damages the pulp.
Root canals are performed in a dentist's office, with Dr. Julie Liberman of Great Neck Dental Care, or whoever your dentist may be. So, now we will go over the general steps that you can expect for a root canal procedure.
The first step is to numb the gums, and then an anesthetic will be injected into the gums. Though the gums will be numbed, there may be a slight pinch when the anesthetic is injected. You will remain conscious and awake during the procedure, though there will not be any pain.
Once the area has been numbed, the dentist will make a small hole on the top of the tooth. Using a unique tool called a file, the dentist will then carefully remove the pulp from the center of the tooth. Once the pulp has been removed, the dentist will clean up any canals and passageways in the tooth.
Once the pulp has been removed, the dentist will want to make sure that there is no chance that there will be any kind of infection. The dentist will prevent infection using an antibiotic applied to the area. The hole in the tooth will be sealed with a paste and a rubbery material called gutta-percha. Just to be thorough and prevent any infection, your dentist may prescribe you to take an oral antibiotic.
Once the first three steps have been completed, the dentist will fill the tooth with a temporary material. The temporary filling is used to help prevent any food or saliva from getting into the tooth and damaging it further. Following the procedure, there may be some pain and soreness. To help deal with any lingering pain, over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can help. If the pain persists beyond a few days, give your dentist a phone call and see what the next steps might be.
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