What is a Root Canal?
Inside every one of our teeth is a complex network of nerves, roots and blood vessels. Our nerves, roots and blood vessels run through the tooth and into the gum, in an area that forms a canal, which is protected by a soft substance called pulp. We don’t usually think about the inner structure of our teeth until we get a warning signal, which is usually a felling of pain, to let us know that something is wrong. The pain is often caused by decay and infection within the tooth. A Root Canal Treatment can be done to heal the infection and protect the tooth from further decay.
Root Canal Symptoms
It’s possible for nerves and pulp of a tooth to be infected without feeling pain, but as the infection progress, the symptoms can get progressively worse and can take the form of:
- swelling and tenderness of the gums
- pain while chewing or pressing on the area
- sensitivity to heat or cold temperatures
- discoloration of the tooth
- a pimple in the gums
How is a Root Canal Treatment Done?
The Root Canal Treatment removes infected and decayed material from the tooth and restores it to a state of health.
Here’s how it’s done:
- The area around the tooth is numbed.
- An opening is made from the top of the tooth into the pulp area.
- Special tools are used to remove the infected pulp from the inside of the tooth.
- The area is cleaned and disinfected.
- The area is filled with a resilient material called gutta-percha.
- A temporary filling is placed on the tooth until a permanent filling or dental crown is placed on the tooth.
How Long Does a Root Canal Treatment Take?
The procedure can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Thanks to advances in dentistry, a root canal can be done in one visit, with the patient returning for a second visit to have a permanent filling or crown placed on the tooth. There are situations where more than one visit will have to be made. Dr. Holz will discuss his assessment and treatment options with you and, together you will come up with a treatment plan.
Is a Root Canal Treatment Painful?
Root Canals have the reputation for being painful, but they are no more uncomfortable than having a filling done. Our goal is for all of our patients to have as little discomfort as possible. Root Canals are done with a local anesthetic. There may be some discomfort after the procedure, but it’s more likely to occur from holding your jaw open than from the procedure itself. Any discomfort can usually be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Fine Dentistry and Care
Dr. Holz’s goal is for each one of his patients to feel comfortable and have a good experience at every visit. Contact us if you have any questions and to make an appointment.