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What Exactly is a Root Canal?

What Exactly is a Root Canal?

January 21, 2016

So you have been experiencing dental pain and your dentist informs you that a simple filling will not do, you need a root canal – what can you expect? In a normal one-step dental filling, the area surrounding a cavity is cleared and either a plastic or silver filling is placed into the tooth to prevent further decay. A root canal, or endodontic, treatment, goes a step further and actually treats the inside of your tooth before filling the tooth. Your dentist will tell your that a root canal  is necessary when the inside, or “pulp” of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected, which is the cause of your tooth pain and could, in turn, be caused by deep decay, faulty crowns, a crack or chip in your tooth or even non-visible tooth trauma.

root canal

During your root canal the inflamed or infected section of tooth will be removed and the tooth is cleaned and disinfected and a rubber-like sealant called gutta-percha will be applied. The final step, much like a routine dental filling, is to restore the tooth with a crown or a plastic or silver filling. Afterwards, your tooth will be back to normal and free of pain.

While many people have a fear of  root canals due to stories they may have heard from friends or family, modern root canal treatments are in fact very similar to routine dental fillings and can be completed in one to two dental appointments depending on how extensive the damage to your tooth is.

Why does your dentist recommend this procedure to cure the pain and restore your tooth? Root canals help to fix the core of the problem while maintaining the natural look of your teeth. By keeping the natural shape of your teeth, a root canal also helps to ensure that you can continue to chew normally as your teeth with naturally come together. With proper care, your root canal will last as long as your natural teeth and perhaps even a lifetime.

As always, routine dental care, such as semi-annual cleanings, brushing, and flossing, are the easiest way to prevent more extensive dental work, including root canals. However, sometimes through accidents, or age, a root canal may become necessary. If that is the case, there is nothing to fear, it is a procedure that your dentist completes for patients on a regular basis. If you are in pain and in need of dental care, please contact us for an appointment.