You may have heard of root canal treatment or root canal therapy and wondered what it entailed. Most people think of root canal treatment as anxiety-inducing, difficult, or unpleasant to experience, but this simply isn’t the case. Root canal treatment is a straightforward, safe, and painless procedure routinely used by dentists to treat millions of people every year.

When it is needed, root canal treatment can bring “a profound positive effect on the quality of life“. A recent study by the Adelaide Dental School at the University of Adelaide found that patients who underwent the treatment reported that their experiences were overwhelmingly positive.

If you’re wondering about the procedure and want to know more about the steps for root canal treatment, the following information will prove helpful.

Steps of a Root Canal Procedure 

Root canal treatment is a standard procedure used to remove an infection from the inside of a patient’s tooth. This part of the tooth, called the dental pulp, contains nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues that extend into the tooth’s roots. The health of these parts of your teeth is critical, and if the system that supplies the tooth with oxygen and other nutrients become threatened, a root canal treatment can help.

Root canal therapy involves several steps, and each may take a variable amount of time depending on your specific needs and the condition of your teeth. A tooth with advanced infection or multiple canals that need to be examined and treated may require a longer appointment or be treated over several appointments.

Preparing the Area

After administering a local anaesthetic solution to guard against any possible discomfort during the procedure, your dentist will remove any decay present within the tooth. At this point, it may be necessary for your dentist to temporarily fill any space created by the removal of damaged tissue with protective material to preserve the integrity of the tooth during the rest of the root canal treatment.

Accessing and Cleaning the Roots

Your dentist will then make a small opening into the dental pulp space. Any infection or damaged tissue within this space will be thoroughly removed. Your dentist will proceed to clean the tooth canal by gently flushing the area with an anti-bacterial solution. 

Shaping the Canals

One of the most essential steps for root canal treatment involves shaping the tooth’s canals to remove any remaining bacteria or damaged tooth structure. This generally will not take a long time and will be entirely painless. At this point, any needed medication, such as an antibiotic to protect against infection, may be administered.

Filling the Canals

Your dentists will carefully examine the dental pulp space to make sure the canals are properly shaped and cleaned. When there is no further infection, inflammatory tissue or decay present, the root canals of the tooth is ready to be filled. A special material, typically a thermoplastic filling, is inserted into the space to reinforce the root canal space as well as to provide a seal to prevent future re-infection. 

Filling the Access Hole

Once the root canal spaces have been filled, your dentist will need to restore the tooth next.  At this point, the tooth’s surface will be examined to ensure it is smooth, clean, and even.

Healing and Antibiotics

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics and allow adequate time for the tooth to heal before assessing any further necessary treatment. One of the final steps for root canal treatment, the healing period will generally be brief and painless.

Adding the Crown

Your dentist may affix a crown or cap to further protect the treated tooth as the last of the root canal treatment steps. The crown will sit on top of the treated tooth and protect it from the gum lining up to the biting surfaces of your tooth.

Not as Scary as You Imagined

Root canal treatment doesn’t need to be a cause of anxiety or something to be approached fearfully. It’s simply another way your dentist can help you preserve and protect your teeth’s health and function and is safe, effective, and painless. Many people go through root canal treatment each year and enjoy perfectly normal dental function — and the absence of any pain — after treatment.

The steps for root canal treatment shouldn’t be frightening or intimidating. If you think you may need root canal therapy or have further questions about root canal treatment steps, contact your dentist to schedule an examination. Your dentist will ensure it’s a pain-free and calm procedure that can preserve your smile, ease any pain or discomfort, and give you regular, healthy dental function for many years to come.

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