Simply stated: work to save your tooth.
If you’ve been told you need a root canal, you may wonder what that really means and what your dentist or endodontist will actually do. Let’s start with the basic question: what is a root canal?
A root canal is essentially removing the nerves and blood vessels from inside if a tooth, leaving as much tooth and root structure as possible for strength.
So how does an endodontist (a root canal specialist) perform a root canal? Before we get into the details, be assured that the process can usually be done comfortably in one or two visits and follows an effective and logical sequence. Here’s how:
- The endodontist takes x-rays and examines the tooth.
- A local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and the area around it.
- A small protective sheet called a dam is placed over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean during the procedure.
- An opening is made in the crown of the tooth to access the pulp chamber where the nerves and blood vessels are.
- Instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and nerves from the canals and to shape the space for filling.
- The canals are then filled with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals. In most situations, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. The filling will be removed before the tooth is restored. The initial process is now complete.
- A few weeks after the root canal is done, your dentist will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and return it to full function. In some situations, a tooth may lack the structure to support a restoration. The dentist may need to place a post inside the tooth. This is something to discuss with the dentist when you get details about the specific restoration planned for your tooth.
A root canal can be needed for many reasons, and it is often the only alternative to extraction. Root canals are called for when a cavity goes unchecked and reaches all the way to the pulp (nerves and blood vessels) of the tooth, or the nerves in the tooth die due to trauma, or an infection has occurred for some other reason. In some instances of tooth injury, the tooth can’t heal on its own and the pulp will continue to deteriorate resulting in pain, and/or swelling. The problems can range from a little discomfort to life-threatening infection. If this happens, a root canal is necessary so the pulp can be cleaned out to allow the tooth to heal. If you need a root canal and don’t get one, your tooth can become more infected and lead to abscesses in your gums and severe pain.
The question as to who should perform your root canal procedure is a good one! Should you see a root canal specialist? Your general dentist is trained to do root canal procedures, but may not have the specialized equipment the endodontist has. In addition to Microscopes and Cone Beam x-Ray machines, endodontists have extensive training and experience with root canal procedures. This makes them better equipped to handle your root canal. Ask your dentist if a referral to the endodontist would be beneficial for your tooth.
At Professional Endodontics, we work hard to take care of our patients, keep them informed, and—most important—keep them comfortable during their treatments. Please contact us to learn more about root canals and how we can help you.
About Professional Endodontics
Professional Endodontics has been exceeding the standard of care in Wayne and Macomb counties for over 50 years. The team specializes in treating issues with the inside of the tooth and goes out of its way to provide a safe easy environment for patients. Each member of the practice is dedicated to providing excellence in patient care and values high-quality relationships with referring dentists and specialists. Each endodontist at Professional Endodontics has been individually chosen as Hour Detroit Magazine’s Best Dentists. Thanks to contemporary advances in endodontics, Professional Endodontics is able to use innovative technology to treat and save teeth that have suffered damage to the soft tissue within the roots of the tooth.
Professional Endodontics offers state-of-the-art facilities in Clarkston, Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, and Southfield. All locations offer the latest in advanced dental delivery systems, microscopy, and digital radiography.
6803 Dixie Highway
Clarkston, MI 48346
29201 Telegraph Road
Southfield, MI 48034
Henry Ford Hospital Medical Pavilion
16151 19 Mile Rd, Suite 101
Clinton Township, MI 48038
St. Clair Shores
St. Clair Professional Plaza
23829 Little Mack, Suite 300
St. Clair Shores, MI 48080