How is root canal therapy performed?
The first step to most dental procedures is the administration of local anesthetic. It is very important that the patient is nice and numb and relaxed, and dentists have developed techniques for ensuring that the patient doesn’t feel anything painful. After the anesthesia takes effect, a rubber dam is placed over the tooth to isolate the rest of the mouth from the unhealthy tooth and from the disinfectants. Root canal therapy is performed by accessing the middle of the tooth, where the infected or inflamed nerve and blood vessels are located. This is accomplished by a dentist using a specialized tiny drill, and removing tooth structure and filling material from the surface toward the center of the tooth, where the pulp is located. Then, the diseased nerve and blood vessels in the center of the tooth are removed with special instruments, and the dentist can see where the root canals themselves begin.
The root canals are the thin, cylinder-shaped spaces in the center of the roots of the teeth that extend from the tip of the root all the way to the middle of the tooth. These canals provide the pathway for the nerve and blood vessels to provide nutrients to the tooth. The dentist is able to access these canals with specialized files, which remove the diseased pulp as well as the affected tooth structure. The canal is then cleaned with disinfectants and antimicrobial agents, and then filled with gutta percha, a rubbery material that seals the canal from the outside environment.
After the canal is filled and sealed, a filling material must be placed to close up the access hole that was created at the beginning of the procedure. If the tooth that has been root canal treated is a back tooth, we recommend that a crown is placed to prevent the tooth from fracturing, due to the fact that root canal treated teeth are more prone to breaking.