A root canal is a dental procedure an endodontist performs to remove the infected inner pulp of a tooth. Our endodontists in Toronto offer additional information about what to expect during this procedure.[CMSI_SOCIALSHARE}
Why might I need a root canal?
A deep cavity or a traumatic injury to a tooth can cause the pulp inside the tooth to become exposed, leaving it vulnerable to infection via bacteria.
When there is a severe internal infection in a tooth, a dentist typically performs root canal therapy to save it. If it's not treated with root canal therapy, a tooth with a severe internal infection like this would likely need to be extracted.
Only your dentist can determine conclusively whether you'll need a root canal. That said, if you are experiencing symptoms such as discolouration, prolonged sensitivity, severe toothache pain or swelling around the tooth, you might require a root canal. Other common symptoms that suggest you may need a root canal include a chipped or cracked tooth, sensitivity to heat and cold, or tooth mobility (a tooth may feel loose if it is infected).
What happens during the root canal procedure?
To start, anesthesia will likely be administered to completely numb the affected area. This is for your comfort so you'll feel as little pain as possible during the procedure.
Following that, your dentist will make an opening in the tooth and use specialized tools to remove bacteria as well as dying or dead tissue from the inside of the tooth. They will then shape the inner chamber of the tooth and irrigate it with water to remove any diseased tissue that has remained after the shaping.
Additionally, an antimicrobial solution might be applied to help clear away any remaining bacteria and reduce the likelihood of further infection.
After the chamber has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, your dentist will fill it with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material. In order to prevent further damage to the tooth, the dentist will apply a temporary filling to the opening, which will keep the tooth sealed until a permanent dental crown can be made for you.
A dental crown will be placed on a tooth to protect it from further damage, after which the procedure is considered complete.
Although the root canal procedure has a reputation for being painful and severely unpleasant, with the advancement of dental techniques and technology, root canal therapy has evolved into a relatively painless process that typically requires only two visits to the dentist to complete the procedure.
How can I prevent having to get a root canal?
In most cases, proper oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentists for routine exams and cleanings, can go a long way in preventing the need for a root canal.