Root canal therapy brings an end to excruciating pain resulting from an infected tooth pulp. It is usually the last resort to save a severely damaged or rotting tooth. The only alternative is to extract the tooth and replace it. If the nerve of the tooth is irreversibly damaged or dead, then your tooth cannot recover. Although the symptoms may resolve temporarily, the pain or infection will keep recurring until you take action. Here are some questions you can ask your dentist or endodontist about root canal therapy:
1. What is the procedure for root canal therapy?
Root canal treatment requires the endodontist to carefully clean, shape, and fill the canal space to ensure that the restored tooth remains free from infection. This process involves the use of:
- A bleach solution to clean the root canals
- Metals files to widen and shape the root canals
- Gutta Percha (natural rubber material) to fill the root canal
- Antibacterial cement or “sealer” to cover the rubber material and prevent bacteria from re-infecting the root canal
2. How long does it take?
Several factors affect the duration of treatment, including the tooth being treated and whether or not it was infected. Considering that an upper front tooth has only a canal whereas a back tooth has three or four canals, treating a molar is more complex and requires more time. Additionally, treating an infected tooth usually requires more than one appointment for adequate cleaning and disinfection. If your treatment requires multiple visits, a temporary filling will be placed as a seal between visits.
3. What should I expect after root canal treatment?
After treatment, your endodontist may place a temporary onlay over the treated tooth while it is settling down and the area around the root is healing. This temporary must be replaced with a permanent restoration as soon as possible to prevent the filling material from wearing down and allowing bacteria in the area that may infect the root canal filling. The onlay or crown helps to strengthen and protect the restored tooth.
After successful treatment, you can continue to function like normal, with your usual oral hygiene routine to ensure the longevity of your restored tooth. Learn more by scheduling your appointment with your dentist in Blacksburg VA today!