The Root Canal Procedure Explained
The root canal procedure has earned quite a reputation for itself over the past few decades. Ask a few random people what they think is the scariest procedure a person can get at the dentist and a few will mention root canals. The reason why so many people are terrified of this procedure is because it was once a rather horrifying experience. Several decades ago, local anesthetics were not as advanced as they currently are, so patients had to deal with quite a bit during the procedure.
Nowadays, the scariest part of a root canal is getting a local anesthetic injected into your gums. If the patient has a fear of injections, the dentist can use a topical anesthetic to numb the area that will be injected. That way, the patient barely feels the shot. Once the anesthetic has been injected, the patient does not feel much besides vibrations and pressure from the dentist working on their tooth.
Why a root canal is needed
A root canal is performed to save a tooth that has been severely damaged by trauma or decay. The pulp and nerves of a tooth are housed inside the pulp chamber, and once this area is exposed to all the contents of the mouth, infection is inevitable if the tooth is not treated.
The infection leads to a host of symptoms like:
- Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
- Inflammation around the area
- Throbbing toothache
- Bad breath
- Dark color of the tooth
- A pimple or bump on the soft tissue around the tooth
These symptoms will become worse until the tooth is treated. If the patient fails to get the necessary treatment, the infection will continue to spread, and it can turn into a life-threatening condition. If the infection is already a threat to the patient's overall health, the dentist might decide to remove it instead of performing a root canal.
What to expect during a root canal
The patient should get to the clinic five to ten minutes before their appointment so they have enough time to fill out any necessary paperwork and relax before the procedure. The dentist might perform diagnostics like an x-ray and visual examination before proceeding with the treatment.
The patient is given a shot of local anesthetic to numb the tooth and the area around it. A drill is used to create a hole, which the dentist uses to access the pulp chamber of the affected tooth. Different sized files are used to remove the contents of the pulp chamber before medication is applied to fight off any infection.
The tooth is sealed back up with a rubbery material and fillings. It is common practice to protect a tooth with a crown after a root canal has been performed. This is done to protect the tooth from further damage and preserve its look. Once a root canal is over, the symptoms that brought the patient to the clinic should be gone. There is no recovery period, and the patient is free to go back to their regular routine.
A root canal brings your nightmare to an end
Waiting a couple of weeks is never an option when you have a tooth that needs a root canal. Dealing with a tooth with a damaged pulp chamber? Stop by the San Antonio clinic and get the fast treatment you need.
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