As seemingly onerous as it is, root canal therapy has amazing benefits. Among these are that it can help restore the function of your tooth, protect it from further decay, and allow you to chew efficiently again.
If you’ve been contemplating getting a root canal, you may have questions about the procedure, such as how it works and how many visits it will take to complete. Root canals typically require two visits. However, there are instances when patients may need more visits, such as if you have an active infection at the time of the first visit.
To get a better understanding of the procedure, here’s an overview of what may transpire at each root canal appointment.
During the first visit, the dentist will run an X-ray. The purpose of an X-ray is to examine the space inside the tooth that contains pulp tissue (root canal system) and check whether there is an active infection.
If there’s an abscess (pus buildup due to infection), the dentist will wait a week or so to let it subside, as it may block the anesthetic from working and successfully numbing the area. Before you leave, your dentist will place a temporary filling to protect the tooth from contaminants, will prescribe antibiotics to help treat the infection, and will schedule your next visit.
If there’s no infection, your dentist can proceed with cleaning your tooth’s root canal system. The dentist will anesthetize the area and take out the pulp and any diseased tissue inside the canal. The dentist will then thoroughly clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth to eliminate any debris and prevent another infection from occurring in the future.
If you had an abscess during the first visit, the dentist may run another X-ray to determine if it has completely gone away. Once this is confirmed, the dentist can proceed with the cleaning and shaping of the tooth.
Once the dentist has thoroughly cleaned and removed any irritants from the inside of the tooth, its canal will be shaped and prepared for filling and sealing. When the tooth is ready to be sealed, the dentist will use a gutta percha cone, which is a rubber-like filling material. The dentist will apply a sealer onto each cone to close the spaces between them and will then place each one into the canal of the tooth.
Compacting gutta percha cones into the tooth canal is necessary, because the cone shape of the material does not fully conform to the ovoid shape (resembles an egg shape) of the tooth canal.
The last step will involve placing a temporary filling again on top of the tooth until a permanent filling or crown can be placed. If your tooth didn’t have an infection or sustain significant structural damage, your dentist may skip this step and place a permanent filling (usually a resin) right in the same appointment.
Otherwise, you will need to make another appointment to have a dental crown placed over the tooth to restore its function and prevent further damage.
First-Rate Root Canal Therapy in Eugene, OR
At 360 Dental Group, we offer high-quality restorative dentistry services—such as root canal therapy— to the people of Eugene, Oregon, and surrounding communities. Dr. Ari Binder, the man behind our practice, has helped numerous patients revive the health, function, and beauty of their teeth, and you can trust him to help you, as well. To arrange a consultation with Dr. Binder, you may call us at (541) 689-1645, or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!