A root canal can be a nerve-wracking procedure, but with the right team taking care of you, you can feel confident knowing that your oral health will be better after treatment. Root canals are often needed in patients who have a bacterial infection that’s reached the pulp of their tooth.
The pulp is your tooth’s innermost layer, filled with connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. It’s protected by the enamel, your tooth’s durable top layer, and dentin, the softer middle layer.
When the infection spreads to the center of the tooth, antibacterial medications may be used to prevent the need for a root canal. But when these treatment options don’t work, if a patient is at risk of losing their tooth, a root canal is the recommended course of action.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
Severe toothache, especially when chewing
Extreme tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
Noticeable discoloration of the affected tooth
Swollen gums that feel tender and may have sores
If you exhibit any of these symptoms, reach out to us for urgent dental care in Chester, VA. We can examine your tooth, take X-rays, and offer a personalized treatment plan.
The Root Canal Procedure in 5 Steps
A dental specialist called an endodontist performs root canals. When the pulp is inflamed, or it’s become infected, you may experience severe pain and be at a greater risk of tooth decay.
When you get a root canal, the process works systematically:
1. Applying Local Anesthesia & Prepping the Tooth
The dental team will administer a local anesthetic so you don’t feel any pain during the root canal procedure. Next, the endodontist will apply a sheet called a dental dam over the affected tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure.
2. Opening the Tooth
The endodontist makes a small hole in the crown of the tooth to access the pulp at the center.
3. Pulp Removal
The most essential part of a root canal is removing the pulp from the center of the tooth. In doing so, the endodontist also removes any infection or inflamed tissue that has been causing pain.
4. Shaping and Removing the Canals
To protect the tooth and keep it healthy, the endodontist disinfects the area that held the pulp, as well as the root canals, to make sure they are completely free of bacteria. The canals are then shaped to allow for easy placement of medications and filler.
5. Filling, Sealing, & Possibly Placing a Crown
To close off the procedure, the endodontist will fill the cleaned root canals with a substance called gutta-percha. This permanent filling replaces the old pulp and preserves your tooth’s structure.
In most cases, patients also need a dental crown to protect the tooth after a root canal. These custom-made caps protect your tooth and help restore a proper bite. The endodontist will place a temporary crown until your permanent one is ready.
Do You Need a Root Canal? We Can Help
Contact us today if you suspect you need a root canal. We provide both general and advanced dental services and access to an emergency dentist in Chester, VA. You can reach our office at (804) 748-2555 or request an appointment today.