If you or a loved one has some serious dental decay, then a root canal might be needed. However, you might not be too familiar with root canals and thus might not know exactly what the procedure entails. This lack of knowledge can lead to some apprehension and fear, but you have nothing to worry about. To help you get a better idea of the road ahead, here is a basic overview of root canals:
Why do you need a root canal?
If your dentist has informed you that you need a root canal, then you likely have some infected dental pulp. If you have some minor tooth decay, then it's possible for that tooth decay to spread deep into your tooth, where it can affect the pulp and nerves. You might not notice this immediately, aside from some discomfort, but a dentist could spot this decay easily with an examination.
For this reason, root canals are usually only required after you go a long period without seeing a dentist, particularly if you don't take very good care of your teeth.
What actually happens in a root canal?
The basic idea is that your dentist is going to excavate the affected dental pulp, essentially removing a significant portion of your tooth. In minor cases, a filling might be sufficient, but you will often need a crown to actually fill in the missing space.
How long will it take?
The removal of pulp alone will take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, but you could be looking at 90 minutes in more extreme cases. Regardless, the procedure itself isn't particularly long.
What will take a while is the crafting and installation of the replacement crown. After the pulp has been removed, your dentist will need to take some measurements of your tooth and then fit a temporary crown on the tooth. The measurements will be used to create the final crown, but that can take several weeks or even months to complete. Once that is finished, you will need to return to your dentist in order to get the temporary crown removed and the final crown fitted.
Will it hurt?
You might be worried about the potential pain of a root canal, but you can rest assured that the procedure will be much less painful than the period preceding the procedure. Since root canals only become necessary when the pulp is infected and the nerves are endangered, you are going to be in a lot of pain directly before the root canal begins. The procedure itself is often accompanied by anesthesia, which means that you won't feel that much during the removal of dental pulp.
Ultimately, the procedure may be uncomfortable, but it will be much more desirable than the alternative, which is to live with infected dental pulp and nerves. To learn more, contact a dentist like Rick Chavez DDS.Share