What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure that is performed to address a tooth root that has sustained damage. Damage to the root occurs when the part of the tooth (i.e., the pulp) that houses all the nerves, tissue and blood vessels becomes infected. This infection usually causes quite a bit of pain. A dentist uses a root canal to save the natural tooth and stop the pain.

What to Expect During a Root Canal

Prior to a root canal, X-rays are taken. After reviewing the X-rays, the dentist visually inspects the tooth and its surrounding area.

Procedure steps:

  1. Local anesthesia is administered via an injection. This medication numbs the area. For patient comfort, many dentists apply a topical anesthetic to the gum prior to administering the injection. After approximately 30 minutes, the local anesthesia takes full effect and the root canal procedure begins.
  2. A dental dam, which is designed to keep the damaged tooth dry and stable during the procedure is placed over the tooth receiving treatment.
  3. With a specialized drill, the dentist opens the top of the diseased tooth and removes the pulp.
  4. Once the pulp has been removed, the dentist uses miniature files to widen, clean, shape and prepare the area for filling.
  5. Using special solutions, the dentist flushes the area, washing away any excess pulp that remains.
  6. The dentist thoroughly dries the treatment area.
  7. A special antimicrobial medication is applied.
  8. When tooth decay is severe, patients may need to wait a couple days before having the area filled. This slight delay in filling gives the area some time to drain.
  9. If the tooth does not require additional drain time, the dentist can fill the area right away using gutta-percha. This rubbery material acts like a permanent bandage within the canal, preventing fluid and bacteria from entering the tooth via the roots.
  10. The tooth itself will either be crowned or filled. A crown is a prosthetic tooth that is placed directly over the natural tooth. The crown or filling reinforces and protects the portion of the natural tooth that remains.

If you are experiencing tooth pain or have extensive decay, a root canal can stop the pain and restore your natural tooth. There is a misconception that root canals are painful: Due to the use of local anesthesia, once the anesthesia takes effect, the root canal procedure itself is essentially pain free.

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Kenneth Schweizer today by calling (941) 926-4888.

Dr. Schweizer’s office is located at 2920 Bee Ridge Road, Suite 201, in Sarasota, Florida.