Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp or center part of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. The treatment is done to save the damaged or infected tooth instead of extracting it. To treat the root canal, your dentist or endodontist will perform a simple procedure to remove the infected pulp, before filling and sealing the tooth.
The following is a guide to the steps your dentist will follow when carrying out root canal treatment:
After the application of local anesthesia, the infected tooth will require isolation. The dentist will use a dental dam made of latex sheet which is pulled over the tooth with the enamel poking through. The sheet prevents infection from spreading to adjacent teeth creating a controlled environment.
2.Creation of Access Cavity
Access cavity is the first step into the actual root canal treatment. The dentist creates an opening in the enamel by drilling deep into the nerve space. It is a simple process that gives your dentist access to the pulp chamber and the root canals. The dentist will use a dental drill, the same one used for filling. The process is painless except for a sense of pressure when the tooth is getting drilled.
3.Locating the root canals
The most important part of a root canal procedure is identifying and locating all the roots and root canals in a tooth. Each canal needs to be discovered and treated for the procedure to be successful. Usually, there’s no definitive number of roots or root canals a tooth can have. The tooth type is a factor but not the only one, which means that your doctor will probably take his/her time observing the tooth to identify all root canals. The one thing you can be sure about is that the root will always contain a canal.
In most rejuvenation dentistry practices, operating microscope is used at this stage to scrutinize the pulp chamber floor. The instrument ensures that no root canal is overlooked, considering they can be too tiny for the naked eye.
4.Taking Measurements Of The Tooth’s Length
The objective of your dentist is to treat the entire length of each root canal, which means he/she will need to calculate the length of the root canals. There are two methods which dentists are known to use when it comes to measuring a canal: your dentist will either take x-ray images with a root canal file positioned in the tooth’s hollow or use electronic devices known as ‘electronic apex locators‘.
5.Cleaning, Shaping, and Irrigation
Your dentist will employ different types of files to clean and shape the root canal system. The up/down filing motion enlarges the root canal by scrubbing off the debris and contaminated surface.
This step also involves tooth irrigation, which is an essential part of the cleaning process. Your dentist will use one or different kinds of solutions to flush out the tooth as he files away. This ensures that all debris and contaminants within the tooth are removed.
6.Sealing of the tooth
The final step is to seal off the tooth, which is usually done with a compound known as gutta-percha. A thin paste called ‘sealer’ is first applied, and then the gutta-percha cone is inserted into the canal. Once the sealing off of individual root canal is done, your dentist will cement the access cavity with a temporary filling.
Now, while the root canal therapy may be over, your treatment is not over until a permanent dental restoration is placed. You will have an option of either permanent filling or a custom crown to completely seal off the access cavity. This process can be done on a later date or as otherwise advised by your dentist. He/she may also suggest a custom crown to ensure optimal success of the treatment.