If your dentist has recently informed you that you will need a root canal, you may be feeling anxious, worried or even terrified. After all, the procedure sounds incredibly painful. (If they called it something else, like "tooth reawakening" or "tooth enlivening" you may not have the same trepidation, right?) However, you do not have to be nervous, anxious or scared when you know the steps that are taken to preserve your affected tooth.
1. Your Dentist Numbs Your Mouth
Just as he or she would for a cavity filling, your dentist will numb your mouth. While you wait for the novocaine to take effect, you may also be offered laughing gas or some other type of sedative to relax you. A gentle poke or prod with an explorer tool to your gumline with no resulting sensation lets your dentist know you are ready for the next step.
2. The Dentist Begins to Drill Into the Dead Areas of the Tooth
The reason why you need a root canal is because part of your tooth has died. It could become infected as it slowly rots away. To save the part of your tooth that is still alive and healthy, your dentist needs to remove some of the dead tissue and create a new root path for blood flow and nutrition to get to the rest of the tooth. Very slowly and carefully your dentist will drill down to the dead root, removing small pieces of your tooth along the way.
3. The Pulp Is Removed
Most of the living tissue in a tooth is the pulp itself. The decaying or dead pulp is extracted with a small suction tube. If pus is present because the tooth is already infected, your dentist will also clear that out, clean the area thoroughly and prescribe a post-procedure antibiotic. Now the empty tooth is ready to be filled and sealed.
4. The Tooth Is Filled and Sealed
The space left behind by the missing pulp is then filled with a tooth filler, not unlike the kind used to fill a cavity (since that is essentially what the dentist has created artificially). After the tooth is filled, then the dentist will either cap and then seal the tooth or just seal the tooth if he or she has not removed a sizeable portion of it. After the tooth is sealed, you are free to go, but you will have to abstain from eating and drinking anything for a time. Your dentist will tell you how long you have to wait for the sealant to cure and be safe from the foods and drinks you consume. Contact a dentist, like Rick Chavez DDS, for more information.