A root canal is a procedure to remove painful, infected, or dead nerve tissue from inside of a tooth. You may need a root canal if a cavity or a crack in a tooth has become so big that it reaches the nerve inside the tooth. When this happens, the tooth can become very painful. If this is left untreated it can lead to a very bad infection.
The root canal procedure is very simple. Despite many rumors, it is usually completely painless and the recovery is very easy. During the root canal, your dentist will use medicine that will numb the tooth and the area around it. This will ensure that you don’t feel pain during the procedure. Next, the dentist will place a rubber dam on the tooth. A rubber dam is a thin sheet of rubber that keeps the tooth dry while the procedure is being done. The dentist will then make a small hole into the top of the tooth and use a series of files to remove the irritated or infected nerve tissue. Once that is completed the roots will be filled with a material that seals the tooth off from bacteria. After the root canal, the tooth will either need a filling or a crown. In many front teeth, a filling may be all that is needed to allow you to chew normally again on the tooth. However, for most back teeth a crown is required to be able to bite food on the tooth again. After your root canal procedure, you may need a prescription for pain medication or antibiotics, but this is not usually needed. Most people can return to normal activity the day after the root canal.
All general dentists are trained to complete root canal procedures in dental school and residency. Some dentists go on to specialize exclusively in the science and treatment of root canals. These dentists are called endodontists. The majority of root canal treatments in the United States are performed by general dentists. However, some teeth have more complicated anatomy and a general dentist may choose to refer the patient to an endodontist. Most endodontists have special equipment, such as dental operating microscopes and cone-beam CT scanners, that allow them to see smaller canals inside the teeth that may be difficult to find. At Brickyard Dental Group, we have and use a dental operating microscope as well as a cone-beam CT scanner for any root canal that may require them. We also work closely with a group of endodontists who can accept referrals from us whenever the need arises. Many times patients can be referred for same-day treatment.
Whether you have your root canal procedure done in our office or we refer you to an endodontist, you can rest assured that we will always have your best interests in mind.