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Root Canals 101

You’ve probably heard about root canals before, even if you’ve never had one. And more often than not, there’s a negative connotation that goes along with the procedure. Root canals were historically a painful treatment, but the procedure is not as rough as it once was with the recent advancement in technology. And did you know that according to The American Association of Endodontists, more than 15 million root canals are performed per year? You’re not alone! 

patient in dental chair

What is a root canal?

Root canal procedures are done to treat a severely cracked tooth, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous filling. A root canal is needed when the pulp or the center of your tooth becomes inflamed from infection or damage. 

How do I know if I need a root canal?

You might be a perfect candidate for a root canal procedure if you have frequent toothaches, sensitivity, discoloration, swelling, or a recurring pimple on the gums. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist today so we can determine the right treatment to eliminate your painful symptoms. 

What happens during the procedure? 

The first step in performing a root canal is to create an “access hole” into the affected tooth to remove the pulp, any bacteria, and decayed nerve tissue. Thanks to modern medicine, we use local anesthesia to numb the tooth so you shouldn’t feel any pain, similar to a filling. Once the bacteria and pulp have been removed, a series of files are carefully placed into the hole and used to clean the sides of the root canals.

Once the access hole has been cleaned, and all the decayed tissue has been removed, it’s time to seal the tooth. Your dentist may fit this all into one appointment, or you might have a second appointment to finish it up. If you are going to have a subsequent appointment, your dentist will place a temporary filling in your tooth until you see us next. 

Lastly, we always consider restoration. Sometimes, this includes placing a crown on the tooth for protection, preventing it from breaking, and giving the tooth full function. However, you should speak to your dentist about restoration options. 

Don’t let the past of root canals frighten you! Suspect you might be due for one? Contact the Southlake team to schedule an appointment today.