Endodontics, or root canal treatment, are the procedures to which most people are referring when they say “root canal.” These techniques are used when a tooth’s pulp, or the part that contains key blood vessels and nerves, becomes infected. Pulp also contains essential connective tissue, and even though it is typically well-protected, it can be vulnerable to infection at times. Certain symptoms serve as indicators of pulp or root canal infection. Once a dentist conducts a full patient assessment, a management plan will be discussed and initiated as soon as possible.
A dentist will listen to a patient’s specific complaints to determine precisel where in the mouth the problem may lie. Those suffering from pulp infection tend to experience localized pain as well as sensitivity to heat and cold. There are times when patients will simply ignore their symptoms until they recede on their own, which should not be taken as a sign that the condition has resolved. Rather, it likely means that the nerve has died and is no longer capable of sending pain signals.
Once a patient has been assessed and their medical history has been reviewed, the dentist examines the mouth in detail. An x-ray will likely then be taken to determine how serious the issue is and whether additional underlying structures have been impacted by the infection. In rare cases, MRIs or CT scans may be needed, but X-rays are generally sufficient. After an ultimate diagnosis is rendered, the root canal process will be explained.
Endodontic procedures, commonly called “root canals,” are used to treat diseased pulp and are completed under local anesthetic which is placed directly into the area at issue. The pulp will likely be rinsed with antiseptic solution as well, and the gum and pulp will be closed. Eventually, a crown will be placed atop the problematic tooth.
Generally speaking, a root canal procedure is something that will require between two and three visits to complete. The timeline will depend on the particular tooth that is having trouble and whether there are additional complications. All steps will be taken to ensure patient comfort and relaxation during the procedure itself. Aftercare instructions will be provided, and these need to be followed closely to prevent additional concerns.
The bottom line is that a root canal is a very common procedure, and it need not be cause for anxiety. The best way to stave off pulp infections before they occur is to brush and floss regularly and schedule regular dental checkups. Following proper oral hygiene routines will minimize the chances of needing complicated endodontic procedures and will keep teeth and gums as healthy as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about root canal procedures or need to arrange for an appointment with one of our dental professionals, please contact our office today. We look forward to alleviating your concerns about this routine procedure and helping you achieve the bright, healthy smile you have always wanted.