Root canal therapy often has a bad reputation, but why? The truth is that root canal therapy is actually a positive treatment, because it means we have a good chance to save your tooth and relieve any pain, rather than extracting it. Vast majority of our patients who receive root canals would say it was like getting a filling done, but just took a little longer. In fact, we routinely have patients who fall asleep during the treatment, because they find it boring.
The reason for the reputation has to do with the effectiveness of the local anesthetic (freezing). Like any procedure that requires working in the deeper parts of the tooth (e.g. deep fillings, and crowns), if the tooth is not adequately numb, it could be sensitive. At Beacon Smiles dental we use a combination approach to make sure our patients are as comfortable as possible. This approach can involve medication prior to the appointment, different types of local anesthetics, different injection techniques, and delivering anesthetics to different structures around the problem tooth. With this multi-prong approach to anesthesia, it allows us to deliver on our foremost concern at Beacon Smiles Dental, which is to provide a comfortable pain free experience.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
All teeth contain a pulp chamber. This is where the living connective tissue and blood vessels of the tooth are located, and these enter up from the bottom of the root through the canals. This mix of tissue and cells is commonly known as dental pulp. Although the dental pulp is located in the middle of the tooth, it can become infected by untreated tooth decay. Once this happens root canal therapy is needed. This means we need to remove the infected pulp in order to save the tooth. The entire treatment may be carried out in one or two appointments. The most common reasons you may find yourself needing a root canal are:
• Decay that has reached the pulp
• A cracked tooth
• A tooth with a history of extensive treatment
• Trauma or injury to the tooth
What happens during a root canal and will I feel anything?
First of all we’ll use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth so that you won’t feel any pain at all during treatment. The area is then covered with a rubber dam or sheet which isolates the tooth and helps to keep the area dry. When you’re fully numb, we’ll access into the tooth until we reach the pulp chamber. Once an opening is made, we’ll be able to remove the infected pulp completely. Next we have to clean out the root canals and pulp chamber thoroughly and shape them ready for sealing. This is done by using special files and irrigating the canals with an antibacterial solution.
Then it’s time to seal the root canal using a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This is heated and then pressed into the root canals where it acts to seal the canals. This step is important, as it protects the canals from bacteria and possible re-infection.
Now all that’s left is to seal the top of the tooth with a filling where the opening was made at the start of the treatment. Due to the tooth being in a much weaker state now from the root canal, a crown will be recommended. In order to do this, we can use our CEREC machine to create your new crown the very same day!
At Beacon Smiles Dental, we hope to help you save your teeth wherever possible and will recommend root canal treatment if (we consider) it’s the best course of action. You have nothing to worry about and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy and painless the process is. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call on (587) 317-4094 or e-mail our Northwest Calgary clinic at [email protected]
Beacon Smiles also offers Invisalign in Calgary if you’re looking to straighten your teeth.