One morning, you may wake up with pain and swelling in your jaw, suggesting that you have an abscessed tooth. In most cases, your dentist will refer you to an endodontist if the tooth has abscessed, leading you to wonder about the procedure and what it involves.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is used to remove diseased tooth pulp from an infected tooth. Root canals are a conservative alternative to extracting a severely decayed tooth and help to preserve the natural function and stability of your smile. An endodontist can perform a root canal in the comfort of their office using a local anesthetic.
As a cavity develops, it wears away the protective enamel layer on the tooth. Once compromised, disease-causing bacteria may enter the pulp of the tooth. An inflamed pulp may cause tooth pain that is sudden or sharp.
Root canal treatment is designed to remove the damaged tissue and restore the tooth’s stability. It can relieve painful symptoms of infection and decay, reducing the need for extractions and the complexity of tooth replacement.
A Root Canal Procedure
A root canal is a routine dental procedure that has been made less painful with advances in both materials and technique. Your endodontist will numb the area with a local anesthetic and then begin the procedure.
There is a small hole made in the back of the tooth. A file called an endodontic file is then inserted through the hole. The endodontist then removes all diseased or damaged tissue from the inside of the tooth and thoroughly cleans the area. After that, gutta-percha is injected into the hollowed-out tooth structure. Gutta-percha stabilizes the tooth and seals out bacteria.
Most patients receive a dental crown after a root canal. Crowns are highly durable dental restorations that are custom-designed to match your smile. For long-term support, the dental crown will be permanently bonded to the tooth.
Will my root canal be painful?
While root canals may scare some people, they are actually about as painful as fillings. Most of the pain associated with this procedure is caused by the infection itself. A root canal will actually provide you with relief once the infection is removed.
How long does the procedure take?
A root canal will take 30 to 60 minutes for one tooth. If your case is more complicated, it may take longer. It also depends on which tooth needs to be treated.
If you have experienced any pain or swelling in your jaw and are concerned that you may have an abscessed tooth, please contact our Endodontist in Louisville office to schedule a consultation.
Scott A. Norton, DMD of Louisville
Phone: (502) 899-5559
4010 Dupont Circle, Suite #276
Louisville, KY 40207