Did you know more than 15 million root canals are performed each year in the US? Root canal treatments repair badly infected and damaged teeth and save your smile.
If you’re worried about getting a root canal, knowing the root canal treatment steps will help ease your mind. You’ll know exactly what to expect and feel better prepared for the process.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the steps of a root canal!
Root Canal Treatment Steps
The first step of the root canal process is to prepare your tooth for the procedure. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb your tooth and gum area.
Your dentist will then place a protective sheet over the area to isolate your tooth to keep it clean during the procedure. Once your tooth is completely numb, your dentist will start the next steps of the process which include:
Accessing and Cleaning the Pulp Chamber
Your dentist will drill through your tooth to access the pulp chamber and clean out the root canals by removing the debris and infection. An antibacterial solution cleans and disinfects the canals, which eliminates the bacteria and cleans up the rest of any leftover infection.
Shaping and Temporarily Filling the Canals
Next in the root canal treatment process is shaping and filling the canals. Your dentist will use a small instrument to shape the root canals so they’ll be ready for the temporary filling material.
Your dentist will then temporarily fill the canals so that the area has a chance to heal before placing a permanent filling. They’ll also have to seal the hole that was drilled through your tooth to prevent bacteria from entering the area.
Once the temporary filling is in place, you’ll need 1 to 2 weeks of healing time. Your dentist will also typically prescribe antibiotics for you to take.
It’s normal to experience mild discomfort for the first three days after the procedure. You’ll need to eat soft foods and not bite down on your tooth until after the permanent filling is placed.
Placing the Permanent Filling
By the time you have your permanent filling placed, you shouldn’t be feeling pain or have any infection left.
You’ll receive another local anesthetic to numb the area. Your dentist will remove the temporary filling and clean the root canals again. Finally, you’ll receive a permanent filling using a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. This will seal and fill the areas, making your root canal complete.
If you have extensive decay or damage to your tooth, you may also need a dental crown placed. Your dentist will advise you if this is a necessary step for your situation.
Root Canal Recovery
After your root canal, you’ll feel numbness around the treatment area for a few hours. Once this wears off, you’ll notice mild pain and tenderness for the first few days after the procedure.
Make sure you practice good oral hygiene, use an antiseptic mouthwash, and brush your tooth carefully until it heals.
Contact your dentist for increased pain, swelling around your jaw, or warm and swollen gums around the treated tooth. Although rare, some people can get an infected root canal and need root canal retreatment.
Talk to Your Dentist About Root Canal Therapy
Now that you know more about the root canal treatment steps, you’ll feel much more comfortable during the procedure.
If you need to see a dentist for tooth pain or root canal therapy, it’s time to turn to Michelle Wang D.D.S for help. We offer a variety of dental services such as cleanings, root canal therapy, dental crowns, and cosmetic dentistry.
We look forward to helping you, so make sure you contact us today to schedule an appointment!