Root canals were once dreaded dental procedures. Today, thanks to dental innovations, these common procedures typically don’t take any longer than it takes to get a filling. They are also entirely painless. A root canal typically requires two appointments, but the actual time your dentist will be treating the tooth is almost always less than 90 minutes. Here’s a step-by-step guide outlining what to expect if your dentist tells you that you need a root canal.
Step One: Diagnosis
Most of the time patients find out they need a root canal because they develop a toothache. If the pain is resulting from decay reaching the interior (pulp) of the tooth, or if the inside of the tooth has become infected, your dentist will notify you that you need a root canal. In other cases, you may learn that you need an emergency root canal because you have fractured a tooth.
Step Two: Root Canal Procedure
Barring an emergency root canal, which may be necessary immediately after trauma to a tooth via an impact, accident, sports injury, or fall, your root canal will be scheduled as soon as possible after diagnosis. On the day of your procedure, you will first receive local anesthesia to completely numb the tooth and the area surrounding the tooth to be treated.
Your dentist will then drill a tiny hole in the tooth to access the pulp. The pulp will be removed, along with any decay and debris. The tooth will be flushed, and cleaned, and a small amount of antibiotic medication will be applied to eradicate any remaining infection. Your dentist will reshape the root canals of the tooth to prevent future infection. The tooth will then be sealed with a biocompatible material, and the tooth will be covered with a temporary dental crown.
In cases where the infection in the tooth is severe, you may need to return to the dentist in a few days to confirm the infection has been eradicated before the tooth is filled and covered. In other cases, if the supporting structure of the tooth is sound, and the hole created to access the interior of the tooth is small enough, a filling may be used instead of a crown.
Step Three: Attaching the Permanent Crown
Once your permanent crown arrives from the lab, you will return to the dentist to have your permanent dental crown cemented to the tooth. This appointment takes less than an hour and will make the end of your treatment. You will be able to eat, chew, and speak normally.
Caring for Your New Dental Crown
Once the permanent crown is attached, you should care for it the same way you care for other teeth. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing the dentist every six months for oral examinations and dental cleanings are best practices for maintaining not just your new crown, but your overall oral health.
Book a Priority Dental Appointment for Tooth Pain in Westport, CT
Severe tooth pain is a dental emergency and needs treatment right away. If you’re suffering from significant pain, call our office at 203-227-2520 and notify our staff. We will do everything possible to see you ASAP. For mild to moderate tooth pain, feel free to send us a message and we will follow up via phone to confirm your appointment. For your convenience, Imperial Dental Associates is open every other Saturday from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm.