A woman smiles at her dentist after a root canal procedureA root canal procedure is one of the more common dental procedures. A root canal is both a part of the tooth as well as the name of the dental procedure. The roots of your teeth extend down into your gums to anchor the tooth. The inside of every tooth’s core is made up of soft tissue and nerves going down into the root canal, or inner portion of the root. When the soft tissue inside becomes inflamed or infected, it can travel to the gums and cause an abscess. Zeal Dentistry performs root canals as a way to prevent abscesses from forming and save the original tooth from potential decay.

What Leads to a Need for a Root Canal Procedure?

There can be a variety of reasons that one might require a root canal procedure. The most typical is, unfortunately, poor dental hygiene. When plaque builds up and cavities form, they can cause infections when left untreated. Recommended daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits, should prevent the need for such a procedure. However, even in the best cases, a root canal could still be necessary. Other factors can cause infection as well, such as a crack in the tooth which exposes the tissue underneath to the bacteria in the mouth.

What is the Procedure Like?

Despite the description and name, a root canal is a relatively simple and common dental procedure. Zeal Dentistry can perform one with minimal interruption to your daily life. The purpose of a root canal procedure is to remove the pulp, or soft tissue, and nerve from the tooth. Without this procedure, the bacteria will continue to spread and take over the inside of the tooth before spilling out into the gums and mouth causing an abscess. Thankfully, removing the pulp and nerve of a tooth has little effect on day to day function. The nerve’s only use is for temperature sensory purposes. Losing this sensation in only one tooth is of negligible impact.

First, we take an x-ray to determine the extent and exact location of the infection. Then, we apply a local anesthetic and drill an access point into the affected tooth. We clean the internal portion of the tooth and flush it to remove pulp, bacteria, or debris. After this, your dentist will fill the tooth and seal it to prevent further infection from entering the tooth. Depending on your situation, we may need to take additional steps to protect the tooth. For example, if a crack was the cause of the infection, Zeal Dentistry may place a crown to prevent further cracks. While root canals have a reputation as a painful procedure, modern techniques can make it fairly comfortable.

After a Root Canal Procedure

Root canals are not very serious procedures, and as such, there is little “recovery time” associated with it. Inflammation and tenderness are typical for a short while afterward, but there are often little to no restrictions on what you can do, eat, or drink. Some pain or discomfort is not uncommon afterward, but standard over the counter pain relievers are usually more than effective at managing this. You can brush, floss, and perform your regular oral hygiene routine following a root canal as well.

If you are suffering from a toothache, it could be much more. Oral infections can be serious, but a root canal procedure can be a simple fix to a potentially serious problem. A dental check-up is a great way to get an overall dental health assessment. Find a reason to smile. Contact Zeal Dentistry today at 415.792.4771 to learn more about our general dentistry services and root canal procedures.