What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment

What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment By Dr. Abhi Singh | November 14, 2021

What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment

Most people find dental procedures like root canals terrifying. But, just like other treatments, it has been commonly used by most dental professionals with a high success rate. As much as possible, we want to preserve your natural teeth and recommend this option.

Read on as we will discuss root canal procedures and answer some of your related questions!

When the pulp of the tooth becomes diseased and infected, it can cause severe pain and discomfort. Without immediate action, it may lead to a more serious dental problem that can affect your day to day routine.

Endodontic or root canal therapy is a procedure that involves removing the diseased pulp and other dead tissue debris inside your tooth.

The dental pulp is located in the centre of a tooth, or in the root canal system. Damage or infection may reach it when decay penetrates inside the tooth. The procedure is often called “the root canal” because the affected tooth area, which is the canal, needs treatment. Common reasons for damaged dental pulp are cracks and chips, dental trauma, deep decay, and repetitive dental work.

At the end of the procedure, our dentist may recommend dental fillings or crowns on the tooth surface to ensure its strength for its function and serve as protection.

A dentist or endodontist can perform a root canal. An endodontist is a dentist who focuses on the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries to the tooth pulp or tooth nerve. The general dentist may refer you to an endodontist if the procedure needed to treat your root canal is complex.

Depending on the difficulty of the treatment, you may require more than one appointment to complete the procedure. Moreover, the process of root canal treatment that is explained here may vary from that explained in other dental clinics. For more information, consult a Prospect Road dentist. 

Our dentist will use an X-ray to examine the root canals and check for infection in the surrounding bone. A local anaesthetic will be used to numb the tooth area. Although the nerve is dead, most dentists anaesthetize the area to help you relax.

To prevent contamination, a layer of rubber called a “rubber dam” is placed over the tooth. This also keeps the area clean from saliva. 

Endodontic treatment involves drilling a hole into the affected tooth to create an entrance inside. Then, the dentist will remove any debris, infected nerve tissue, dead pulp, tooth decay, and pus.

A set of root canal files are used to clear out the area. They are inserted into the access hole and make their way down the tooth’s length, scraping and scrubbing the sides of the root canals. When the procedure is completed, water or sodium hypochlorite will be splashed in the area to flush away the debris.

Once the canals have been cleaned thoroughly, the dentist will shape them into hollow tunnels that are smooth and free from irregularities. Any left debris or bacteria needs to be removed because any residue can cause a recurrence of infection. This shaping procedure requires the use of small equipment, special disinfectants, and medication. This may need to be repeated several times for the effectiveness of the medications against tough bacteria.

Some dentists prefer to wait a week before proper sealing, while some may choose to seal the tooth on the same day it is treated. If the root canal isn’t completed on the same day, a temporary filling is applied in the tooth’s access hole to temporarily seal the tooth and keep it clean from saliva and food debris before the next visit.

The next appointment involves filling the tooth’s interior with a sealer paste and a rubber compound called gutta-percha. The dentist will insert the filling to cover the access hole created at the start of treatment.

The tooth that received the treatment has often lost significant tooth structure due to infection and decay. 

As a result, you may require a dental crown, bridge, or other types of dental restoration to protect it, keep it from breaking, and restore its proper function. Our dentist will consult with you about the need for any further dental work.

If the dentist advised you to break the procedure into two appointments, the first visit would typically include drilling the surface to create an entrance, cleaning the root canal and shaping the internal tissue of the tooth. This procedure will most likely be completed during this visit by the dentist. The second appointment is usually used to address the tooth’s exterior by filling and closing the affected space.

A single root canal session may last between thirty and sixty minutes on average, but in more complicated cases like curved canals, the dentist may require up to an hour and a half. The duration of root canal therapy depends on the type of tooth being treated and the number of canals needed.

However, most cases require at least two visits to complete the root canal procedure to ensure that the tooth is thoroughly cleaned out, sealed, and protected from possible complications.

Having an infected pulp may not produce any symptoms until the decay is so extensive. A diagnostic x-ray can help confirm if the decay has extended into the canal. However, there are other telltale signs that a tooth may need root canal treatment.

The following are the common signs of tooth infection:

If you have one or more of the indications described above, you should contact your Prospect Road dentist as early as possible to set up an appointment. If a tooth infection is not treated promptly, it can harm the bone around the teeth and possibly lead to tooth loss. Root canal therapy removes the diseased portion of the tooth, seals it against further decay, and maintains your original tooth by capping it with a dental crown.

If the infection in the tooth is not treated, it can spread to other parts of the body and, in some situations, can be fatal. If you require root canal therapy, it is necessary to remove the infected pulp from the tooth.

Untreated tooth pulp infection has a high risk of the following complications:

Spreading infection

It is no longer possible for the dental pulp to fight the spread of disease once it has become diseased. If bacteria penetrate or make their way into the pulp chamber, they will multiply rapidly. As a result, if the infection extends into the surrounding bone, it might result in severe infection or a tooth abscess (a pocket or blister of pus).

Bone loss

Depending on the severity of the infection, it may extend to the root of infected canals and erode the surrounding jaw bone.

The tooth may need to be extracted, which will interfere with your ability to bite and chew and become a source of aesthetic concern, mainly if the infected tooth is located in the front of the mouth. 

If the infection has already caused progressive bone loss, replacing teeth with dentures, bridges, or dental implants may not be possible or tolerated and can be more costly than receiving root canal therapy.

Endodontic treatment, known as root canal therapy, is a common procedure that saves many teeth each year. The purpose is to remove the inflamed pulp, infected tissue, and any debris that can be a habitat for harmful bacteria in the infection.

It is necessary to receive adequate treatment as early as possible to avoid serious complications such as spreading infection, extensive dental decay that needs tooth extraction, and localised bone loss. Oral infection is a severe dental problem that may have a detrimental effect on your overall health if left untreated.

Generally, with the help of advanced technology, the procedure of root canals has been made less invasive. Depending on the condition of your teeth, it may take one to two appointments and thirty to one hour each session. The process may vary and is also determined by the complexity of the case.

If you’re experiencing a toothache or intense pain in a specific tooth, we suggest you undergo a dental checkup. Prevention is always better than a last resort. 

At Prospect Road Dental, our priority is your oral health and helping you achieve a beautiful smile. Please talk with us at (08) 9399 2037! 

Prospect Road Dental Surgery
Dr. Abhi Singh
Dr. Abhi is a member of the Australian Dental Association and loves living and working in our community. He has eight years of experience in all aspects of dentistry, with a special interest in dental implants, wisdom teeth extraction, and cosmetic dentistry.