Do you have a toothache and suspect you may need a root canal? If a cavity is deep enough to reach the innermost chamber of your tooth (your dental pulp), then we’ll need to proceed with an emergency root canal.
Deep tooth decay won’t go away on its own, which is why you’ll need to schedule an appointment with our Grand Rapids dentists as soon as possible. The sooner you get treatment, the better the chance that we can save your smile.
What Is a Root Canal?
The term “root canal” simply refers to the natural cavity within the center of your teeth. However, when people talk about getting a root canal, they’re referring to a specific kind of endodontic procedure (“endo” meaning “inside” and “odont” meaning “tooth”).
Root canal treatment involves removing infected dental pulp from your tooth, cleaning the cavity, and sealing it. This prevents the infection from spreading to the surrounding tissue and forming tooth abscesses.
You may need root canal therapy to treat:
- Deep tooth decay
- Chipped tooth
- Fractured tooth
- Tooth made fragile from large filling or multiple procedures
Root Canal Procedure
Our root canal dentists will follow these four steps:
- Take dental X-rays
- Prep tooth for root canal
- Remove infected dental pulp
- Place filling and crown
1. Take Dental X-Rays
First, our dentists will take X-rays of your teeth to determine the shape of your root canals and just how deeply the cavity runs. We’ll also be able to see whether or not the surrounding bone has been infected.
While your teeth may appear perfectly healthy on the surface, the inside of your tooth may be telling a different story. With dental X-rays, we’ll be able to see exactly what the problem is.
2. Prep Tooth for Root Canal
If our dentists determine you need a root canal, we will give you a local anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. To keep the area around the infected tooth dry and clean, we may place a special rubber sheet around your tooth.
3. Remove Infected Dental Pulp
To remove the dental pulp, our dentists will need to drill an access hole through the top of your tooth. Next, we will use small files of increasing size to remove the infected pulp.
As we remove the infected pulp, we’ll also clean the root canal. Every so often, our dentists may flush out the inside of your tooth with water or sodium hypochlorite.
4. Place Filling and Crown
Once the inside of your tooth is clean, our dentists will seal it. Depending on your circumstances, this can be done the same day or during a later visit. If we decide to seal your tooth at a later date, we will place a temporary filling to prevent saliva and food particles from getting inside your tooth.
When you return to our office, we will remove the temporary filling. We will then fill the inside of your tooth and the tooth’s root canal, and cover the access hole with a permanent filling.
Since teeth are often fragile after root canal surgery, our dentists may decide you need a root canal crown in addition to your filling to restore your tooth’s natural appearance and strength.
Save Your Smile with Root Canal Treatment
Our Grand Rapids, MI, root canal dentists are dedicated to helping you restore your smile through root canal treatment and other restorative dentistry services. Call Lake Michigan Dental today at (616) 453-8211, or contact us online to request an appointment.
This blog post has been updated.