Root Canal

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The information contained in or made available through this site cannot replace or substitute for the services of trained professionals in the medical field. You should consult a physician in all matters relating to your health, particularly concerning any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

About Root Canals

Root canal therapy is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected.

A root canal procedure is performed when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected or the pulp becomes damaged. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

Root canal procedures have a reputation for being painful. Actually, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed. The process of finding trusted dental care can sometimes be more onerous than the root canal procedure itself.

What is Involved in a Root Canal?

The root canal procedure requires one or more office visits and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the human dental pulp or the nerve of the tooth. The choice of which type of dentist to use depends to some degree on the difficulty of the root canal procedure needed in your particular tooth and the general dentist’s comfort level in working on your tooth. Your dentist will discuss who might be best suited to perform the work in your particular case.

The first step in the procedure is to take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone. Your dentist or endodontist will then use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth. Actually, anesthesia may not be necessary, since the nerve is dead, but most dentists still anesthetize the area to make the patient more relaxed and at ease.

Next, to keep the area dry and free of saliva during treatment, your dentist will place a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) around the tooth.

Finally, an access hole will be drilled into the tooth. The pulp, along with bacteria, the decayed nerve tissue, and related debris, is removed from the tooth. The cleaning-out process is accomplished using root canal files. A series of these files of increasing diameter are each subsequently placed into the access hole and worked down the full length of the tooth to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals. Water or sodium hypochlorite is used periodically to flush away the debris.

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