What Happens During Root Canal Surgery?
Root canal treatment is something a lot of people need when one of their teeth has an infection or damage to the nerves and pulp tissue. As with any dental procedure, it can be something patients are anxious about, though it really is a very routine procedure and most people who have had a root canal report little to no discomfort and a positive experience. It is good to know what to expect during your treatment, however, to allay some of that worry and fear.
Preparation and Anesthesia
In order to do your root canal, an endodontist will first usually need to x-ray your teeth to see the extent of the problem and the layout of your tooth’s root. Then, they will administer a local anesthetic by injection into your gums. While you will feel the needle, this is the only painful part, and is very brief, most people likening it to a pinching sensation. In some cases, the nerve is actually dead and so pain would not be experienced even without anesthesia, however it is more comfortable for the patient if the area is numbed.
Once you and your dentist are satisfied that the anesthetic has taken effect, the surgery will begin. A rubber dental dam is used to isolate the tooth that is being worked on and keep it dry. A small incision is then made into the tooth so that the interior can be accessed. The diseased pulp inside the tooth, along with debris and bacteria, is then cleaned out.
Filling the Tooth
Depending on your case, your tooth may be filled in the same appointment as the root canal is performed, however this may also be done in a second appointment. If the endodontist decides a second appointment is better for this, they will use a temporary filling to fill the hole used for the surgery until then.
The tooth will then be filled using a compound called gutta-percha, and depending on the level of reconstruction needed to the exterior of the tooth, you may also need to have a crown fitted.
Root canal surgery has a success rate at around 95% for fully resolving issues caused by problems in dental pulp, and with the right care, a reconstructed tooth that has undergone a root canal can last for the rest of your life.