WHAT HAPPENS DURING A ROOT CANAL?—PART I
A root canal requires one or more office visits and can be performed by a general dentist or an endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the dental pulp or the nerve of the tooth. Our office is very experienced in performing root canal therapy, so we do them regularly. We do refer to endodontists for more complicated cases.
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 a surrounding bone. Your dentist or endodontist will then use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth.
Next, to keep the area dry and free of saliva and the bacteria in saliva during treatment, your dentist will place a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) around the tooth.
An access hole will then be made 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 shape the sides of the root canals. Disinfecting solutions are used periodically to flush away the debris and kill bacteria.
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