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What is a Root Canal?

Endodontist - Root CanalA root canal is a procedure that is performed when soft tissue inside your tooth’s root canal, called pulp, becomes infected. Pulp can become infected for a variety of reasons including cavities, damage to the tooth or if you have had multiple procedures done on that tooth.

Many people experience dental anxiety, and that is only heightened when they need to have a procedure completed. Luckily, root canals are a very common procedure.

According to the American Associates of Endodontists, more than 15 million root canals are performed each year, and, because the tooth will be numb, you will most likely not even feel what is going on.

Even so, root canals can still worry some people. Below we have mapped out what happens during a root canal procedure to help you better understand what is involved.

1. The endodontist will begin by taking x-rays and examining the tooth. They will numb the tooth and apply a “dental dam” over the tooth to section it off and keep it clean during the procedure.

2. The endodontist begins by making a small opening in the crown of your tooth. Once there is an opening, the endodontist cleans out the infected pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. They will also shape the space that receives the filling.

3. Next, the endodontist will apply the filling. This is usually a rubbery material called gutta-percha. This is combined with an adhesive to completely seal the root canal. They will also most likely place a temporary filling over the opening of your tooth.

4. Once you are done with the root canal procedure, you will need to schedule an appointment with your dentist to remove the temporary filling, after which the dentist will place a crown or another restorative to the tooth so that it becomes fully functional.

Root canal procedures are usually completed in one to two visits. Root canals will help get your tooth back to its normal function and relieve you of the pain you experience.

It is important to maintain regular dental appointments and dental hygiene to ensure your teeth are healthy. If you experience pain in a tooth, you should consult your dentist to find out what is going on.

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