Root Canals: What to Expect

You may have come into the office with a sore tooth that kept you up all night, and you and your dentist may have decided that a Root Canal is the best treatment for you to get. At this moment in time, you might be wondering what to expect.

Before going through an outline of the procedure, I thought I would describe exactly what a root canal is:
Root canal therapy is a way to preserve your tooth rather than pulling it out of your mouth. This involves removing the infected nerve from your tooth and filling the canals to seal and protect them from further infection.

Once it has been decided to go the route of saving your tooth, here is what you would likely expect from the appointment:
Other than consciously knowing that you are having a root canal, it won’t be much different to you than having a really long appointment to get a filling done. The area will be frozen and a rubber dam will be inserted to isolate the area we are working on. This is extremely important, as we cannot let any bacteria from your saliva get into the tooth we are cleaning. It also prevents unwanted materials and solutions we use from going into your mouth. X-rays are taken periodically as we clean to ensure that the instruments are getting all the way to the end of the root, and that everything has been cleaned out and sealed off with a temporary filling.

Your root canal may be done in two appointments. The steps above would be part of the first appointment, called the Open and Drain appointment, which involves cleaning everything out, getting the canals shaped, and then providing an opportunity to let the medicine sit in your tooth for about two weeks to be sure that all the infection is gone. The second appointment would be two weeks later. In this appointment, we fill the canals with material, packing it tightly so that infection cannot occur again in this tooth. The tooth will be sealed off again with another temporary filling.

After another few weeks, you will come back to prep the tooth for a crown. It is very important not to keep the temporary in longer than required, because the temporary filling is not meant to last for a year and will start to leak, causing the root canal to fail. A crown is a necessary step because once your tooth has had a root canal, it will become weak, dry and brittle. A crown will cover the tooth, holding it together and making it possible for you to keep your tooth and prevent future breaks.

There are a lot of myths about root canals which are not true. If you would like to have more information, please let us know! We are happy to FILL you in. To patients, it shouldn’t feel any different than getting a filling done, so let us worry about the hard work.

Braeside Dental Centre


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