How Root Canal Therapy Works: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ah, root canals – just a mention can send a shiver down anyone’s spine. We’ve all heard the stories and hoped we’d never have to face one ourselves. But if you find yourself in that position, take a breath and relax those shoulders. Believe it or not, root canal therapy isn’t as terrifying as it seems!

Here at Litchfield Dental Associates, we take pride in offering every patient an experience that’s as enjoyable and painless as possible. During our decades of practice, we’ve performed hundreds of root canals, and the truth is, this simple service is incredibly misunderstood. To make you feel more at ease before your treatment, we’re here to break down the root canal therapy process. Get out your notes, and let’s jump right in!

Root Canal Therapy Explained

Endodontic, or root canal, therapy is a procedure used to treat infection or inflammation in the tooth’s pulp. The pulp is the inner portion of your tooth, containing blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. When deep decay causes infection, it can cause severe pain and even abscesses. Root canal therapy removes the infected pulp, disinfects the tooth’s interior, and seals it in to prevent further infection.

There are four main steps that your dentist or endodontist will take to treat your tooth. Which step in root canal therapy takes place first?

Exam & Prep 

This procedure typically begins with a thorough examination and X-rays to determine the infection’s extent and the shape of your root canals. The dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist) will then numb the area by administering local anesthesia, ensuring you remain comfortable throughout the entire procedure. Once the area is numb, a dental dam is secured around your tooth to keep it dry and saliva-free, which can introduce bacteria. 

Pulp Removal & Cleaning 

Once you’re prepped, the dentist will create an opening in the tooth’s crown to access the pulp chamber and root canals. The pulp is carefully removed from there. The canals are then cleaned, shaped, and disinfected to remove any lingering bacteria or debris. 

Temporary Filling 

After the canals are cleaned and shaped, they’re filled with a biocompatible material, typically gutta-percha (Similar to rubber.) This material is inserted into the canals to fill the empty space and is sealed with adhesive cement to ensure a tight fit. The access opening in the crown is then temporarily filled, protecting the tooth until the permanent crown is placed. 

Permanent Filling

You’re almost done! Now, the tooth is restored with a crown or permanent filling. A crown is typically recommended, but scheduling a dentist consultation to discuss available options is a fantastic idea. You may feel subtle root canal therapy side effects, like slight discomfort or sensitivity for a few days afterward, but that can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. 

Get Back to Your Best Self 

If tooth troubles are holding you back, it’s time to make a change! At Litchfield Dental Associates, we believe everyone deserves a healthy and confident smile. Our dedicated team is here to guide you every step of the way. To get in touch, send us a message or call us at (860) 567-9488 today. One of our experts will help you schedule your consultation to get you back on track to feeling your best!

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