It’s normal to feel a little nervous (or even scared) when your dentist recommends a root canal. Yet, root canal therapy isn’t as scary once you know what to expect. As a dental practice, we empower patients by giving them the facts they need to make informed decisions about their oral health.
As a root canal dentist, Dr. Jeff Helmus will make sure you understand what to expect during your appointment. Please contact our dental office today if you would like to learn more.
What’s a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat or save an infected tooth. Your tooth may become infected if a cavity is deep enough to breach the soft tissue (dental pulp) inside your tooth. Once this happens, Dr. Helmus would need to drill a small hole near the top of your tooth to remove any infected tissue. He’d then sanitize the inside of your tooth, fill it with gutta-percha, and restore the entire tooth with a dental crown.
How Do You Know If You Need a Root Canal?
You may need a root canal if you experience the following symptoms:
- Pain while chewing
- Prolonged tooth sensitivity to heat or cold
- Tender gums around the tooth
- Swollen gums around the tooth
- Darkening of the tooth
- Abscess on the gum (may look like a pimple)
Keep in mind that you may not show any of these symptoms, which is why it’s important to schedule regular teeth cleanings every 6 months. Don’t wait until you’re in unbearable pain. Call our office at the first sign of dental discomfort.
What Can I Expect During Root Canal Therapy?
During your appointment for, Dr. Helmus will:
- Administer local anesthesia
- Isolate your tooth with a rubber sheet
- Remove infected dental pulp
- Cover your tooth with a temporary filling
- Place a permanent root canal crown
Administer Local Anesthesia
Dr. Helmus will inject local anesthesia near the tooth so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. You will feel a slight pinch from the needle. A few moments later, the area around the infected tooth will be numb. Only then will we begin the root canal procedure.
Isolate Your Tooth With a Rubber Sheet
Since the whole point of root canal treatment is to remove infected dental pulp, it makes sense that we’d want to keep the area around the tooth as sterile as possible. To keep your tooth clean and dry during the procedure, our Wyoming, MI dentist will place a small sheet of rubber around your tooth called a dental dam. The dental dam essentially isolates the tooth from the rest of your mouth.
Remove Infected Dental Pulp
First, Dr. Helmus will drill a small hole through the top of your tooth in order to access the infected dental pulp. Then, he’ll use small files to remove diseased pulp and shape the inside of your tooth. During root canal therapy, Dr. Helmus will sanitize and rinse the inside of your tooth.
Cover Your Tooth With a Temporary Filling
Once the inside of your tooth is clean and dry, our dentist will use a special material called gutta percha to fill it. The top of your tooth will then be covered with a temporary filling until your permanent crown is ready. The filling will keep out saliva and food particles until the permanent crown is ready to be placed.
Place a Permanent Root Canal Crown
Once the dental lab finishes making your root canal crown, you will be asked to return to the dentist’s office. Dr. Helmus will then remove the temporary filling and replace it with a permanent dental crown. He’ll also make sure that the dental crown is the right shape, size, and color to match the rest of your smile.
When recovering from, you’ll want to make sure you maintain a good oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once daily. Make sure you also keep seeing our dentist for dental exams and teeth cleanings at least every 6 months. After your procedure, we’ll want to take x-rays to ensure the root canal removed all the infection.