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What Is a Root Canal?

Graphic showing the steps of root canal therapy

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a treatment for an infection inside the tooth. The purpose is to remove the infected pulp and prevent further bacteria from growing. Root canals are often chosen over tooth extraction. Preserving your natural tooth can help prevent the need for restorative dentistry like dental implants or dentures.

When Do You Need a Root Canal?

A root canal may be needed in a variety of circumstances. Some common reasons include deep tooth decay, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, or when the tooth is cracked or chipped. Here are some signs that you need a root canal:

  • Pain while chewing
  • Tender gums
  • Cracked or chipped tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold

What Happens During a Root Canal?

Despite popular opinion, root canals are not a painful procedure. You may notice some discomfort after a root canal, but it’s not as painful as leaving an infected tooth untreated. There are essentially four steps to a root canal procedure.

  1. Prep – X-rays will be taken to examine your infected tooth. The procedure starts by administering local anesthesia to make the tooth and surrounding area numb.
  2. Clean the Infected Tooth – A tiny hole will be drilled into your tooth to get access to the tooth interior. The dental team will then remove the infected pulp.
  3. Fill the Infected Tooth – After removing the infected pulp, a biocompatible material will be inserted into the canals to prevent more bacteria from growing. A temporary filling may be put in to cover the hole that was created to access the tooth.
  4. Restoration – Depending on your situation, a permanent crown may be added for further protection. Restoration of the tooth completes the root canal procedure.

Preventive Care in Littleton, CO

The best way to prevent the need for root canals is to stay on top of your preventive care. Daily brushing and flossing are essential but also don’t forget to schedule biannual dental exams with Summit Family Dentistry. Professional cleaning removes plaque and tartar that you can’t remove on your own. Regular dental exams help prevent any potential problems from becoming big issues. Call us to schedule an appointment!

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Summit Family Dentistry

Summit Family Dentistry