Root canal therapy, commonly referred to as just a “root canal,” has a reputation that it is a procedure to fear. A root canal is not as worrisome as it is often depicted in the media. Dr. Melissa Elliott, a dentist serving Bel Air, MD, explains the root canal process to ease the anxiety of patients who may be nervous about this procedure.
Step 1: Numbing the area
Pain is a common fear for patients who need a root canal. Often, the pain associated with a root canal stems from the infection of the tooth rather than the dental procedure. The tooth and surrounding area are numbed for the patient’s comfort before the dentist begins the root canal therapy. The procedure then feels similar to getting a cavity filled. Once the tooth is treated, patients usually report pain relief.
Step 2: Removing the tooth pulp
After the tooth is numb, the dentist drills an opening in the tooth into the root canal and pulp chamber. The infected or damaged pulp of the tooth is removed and cleaned. If necessary, the dentist will also apply medicine to the area to eliminate bacteria. Once we reach adulthood, tooth pulp is not required to sustain tooth health. The gums support adult teeth.
Step 3: Sealing the root canal
When the root canal is cleared, the empty chamber is sealed with a rubber-like material. The dentist then adds a temporary filling to the tooth to prevent contamination of the newly disinfected area. At this stage, the patient returns home to give the tooth time to heal and allow time for the dental laboratory to construct a customized dental crown.
Step 4: Placing the crown
Once the dental crown is ready, the patient returns to the dentist to have the crown placed on the tooth. The dentist removes the temporary filling, and the crown fits like a cap over the tooth. The dentist will make necessary adjustments to the crown to ensure it is aligned properly. The crown is then cemented in place, completing the root canal procedure. With regular oral hygiene habits and dental cleanings, the root canal and crown will remain in place for many years.
Root canal therapy in Bel Air, MD
Dr. Elliott and Harford County Dentistry offer root canal therapy in Bel Air, MD and the surrounding area. To learn more about our services in general, cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentistry, contact our office online or by phone at 410.994.2627.