If your dentist recommends that you need root canal treatment to resolve a problem, then it can be a disconcerting time, especially if you have never undergone this sort of procedure before. However, there is nothing to be scared of with a root canal treatment. They are carried out every single day without any problems at all. It is something that many Australian dentists will carry out themselves, but if you live in a large city, then you may be referred to a specialist in this sort of work, known as an endodontist. Either way, what can you expect of your treatment?
To begin with, root canal treatment is usually carried out because of a severe level of decay. In order for the treatment to be successful, your dentist will need to have a good idea of the state of the tooth, which will mean taking X-rays. Sometimes, multiple X-rays are taken so that the internal structure of the tooth can be looked at from multiple angles. This will allow the dentist to proceed in the most effective way possible.
During a root canal treatment, you will usually be placed under a local anaesthetic. This means that the infected tooth won't cause you any pain as your dentist gets to work. Most commonly, this is administered via an injection in the gum. However, other options are available if this does not suit you. In rare cases, where the tooth no longer has a working nerve, your dentist may proceed without any form of painkilling.
Remove the internal tooth structure
When a root canal procedure takes place, your dentist will try and maintain the outer structure of your tooth, its enamel, whilst clearing out the pulp inside, which could form an abscess. As your dentist will be working in one area of your mouth, he or she will usually place a rubber dam around the tooth in question. This is like a little sheet that prevents you from swallowing any of the material being used.
Enlarge the canal
Once the pulp from your tooth has been removed, your dentist will need to enlarge the cavity left behind, known as the root canal. This is because filling it through a small entry point is almost impossible, even for a highly skilled dental practitioner. Usually, small files are used to open up a canal in the tooth, making it more suited to filling. Molars have two roots, whereas, incisors and canine teeth have one. Therefore, if your dentist is working on your back teeth, this part may take a little longer.
Fill the Tooth
Once the root has been prepared with a canal, a filling will be put inside. Sometimes, these are permanent, and sometimes, they are temporary. If a temporary one has been put in place, then it is highly likely that you will return to your dentist at a later date to have a crown fitted. This will seal off the hollowed-out tooth fully.