For many patients, a root canal is a source of fear and nervousness. It feels like a last resort or an extreme measure—but in some cases, it is the best possible solution, and our job is to make sure you’re well prepared. Charvet Dental Center is well-equipped to offer you essential information on how a root canal can effectively help with dental pain.
Understanding a Root Canal
Known as endodontic therapy, a root canal is a dental procedure conducted to address a tooth with damaged or infected pulp. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. If the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, a root canal is essential to safeguard the tooth and prevent extraction. While the process typically takes between 1 to 1.5 hours, the duration may vary based on different factors. Here are several common reasons that might prompt Dr. Charvet or Dr. Charvet Jr. to consider the need for a root canal:
- Dental Inflammation: This is a frequent issue for many of our patients that can arise from untreated tooth decay that reaches the inner pulp or a prior or current dental injury that leads to damage.
- Cracked or Fractured Tooth: If a tooth is cracked or fractured, it can expose the pulp to bacteria, potentially leading to infection and requiring a root canal.
- Abscess: An abscess, marked by a pocket of pus forming at the tooth’s root due to infection, can cause substantial pain and swelling for the patient.
How It Works
Before we talk about how this treatment can help out with dental pain, we want you to have a good idea of what the process entails.
- Diagnosis: Our doctors will initiate the process by conducting an examination of the tooth using x-rays to determine the gravity of damage or infection.
- Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is provided to numb the affected area, ensuring the procedure is painless.
- Isolation: A rubber dam or dental sheet is placed around the tooth to maintain cleanliness and dryness during the treatment.
- Access Opening: This is when your doctor creates a small opening in the crown of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Cleaning and Shaping: The damaged pulp is carefully extracted, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and shaped. Infected tissue, debris, or bacteria is eliminated at this stage.
- Filling: After being cleaned, the root canals are filled with a material, typically a rubbery substance known as gutta-percha. This effectively seals the space, preventing further infection from occurring.
- Restoration: To reinforce strength and prevent additional damage, a temporary or permanent filling or crown is applied to the tooth, with crowns generally considered the more durable option of the two.
Alleviating Your Pain (For Good)
- Cleaning and Disinfection: After the removal of the compromised pulp, the interior of the tooth undergoes a meticulous cleaning and disinfection process. This ensures the eradication of bacteria or debris that contributed to the infection or inflammation, preventing further complications.
- Elimination of Nerve Sensitivity: The removal of the pulp and nerve results in the tooth no longer being sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, common triggers for intense pain in infected or inflamed teeth.
- Relief from Pressure and Swelling: Pressure and swelling associated with dental infections will be alleviated, significantly reducing pain and discomfort.
- Long-Term Pain Relief: A root canal targets the root cause of dental pain, offering lasting relief. Once the tooth heals, patients can enjoy enduring pain relief, preserving the tooth’s functionality over time.
Every patient is different, meaning that the root canal process can look a little bit different for each person. Here are some of the unique variables you might discuss with your doctor.
- Tooth Location: Addressing specific areas of the mouth poses challenges; molars at the back, characterized by multiple roots and canals, might require an extended treatment duration.
- Tooth Condition: The complexity of treatment will be based on the severity of an infection and the condition of the tooth.
- Tooth/Oral Anatomy: Some teeth exhibit irregular or intricate canal shapes, necessitating adjustments to the treatment approach by our doctors.
- Multisession vs. Single-Session: The root canal process may be executed over multiple visits or be completed in a single appointment, depending on the patient’s case.
- Patient Cooperation: In any dental or orthodontic procedure, patient cooperation is instrumental after it’s done. Adhering to the care instructions provided by our team helps ensure the results of your root canal are successful and that you don’t experience further complications.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Bear in mind that root canals are completely routine procedures in every dental office! We do this just about every day, so you have no reason to worry! The main thing is that we take care of the issue that is causing you pain, and this can be an effective solution. You can reach our team at our Metairie office by calling us at (504) 834-6504.