Root canal is one of the most common and avoidable restorative dentistry procedures. Root canal refers to a procedure used to treat a cavitated tooth if the dental decay or infection has spread into your tooth’s pulp chamber. You can generally avoid an emergency root canal if you maintain oral health and get dental fillings for cavities at an early stage.

At Sapphire Smiles, we believe in providing the least invasive restorative dentistry procedures possible. Our root canal dentist will examine your teeth and cavities to determine if the problem can be treated with dental fillings or onlays. We only provide root canal therapy if the root canal is the only way to save your tooth. Please continue reading to learn more about root canals.

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Introduction to Root Canal Therapy

“Root canal” refers to the natural cavity within the tooth housing the pulp chamber and sensory nerves. These nerves aren’t vital because they only provide temperature sensations. You need root canal therapy when dental decay or the bacterial infection spreads past the enamel and into the root canal, infecting the pulp. During the root canal therapy, the root canal specialist removes all the infected nerves and pulp to protect your tooth from infections and abscess.

Root Canal Procedure

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Importance of Emergency Root Canal

Once the infection spreads into your root canal, you need an emergency root canal as a last resort to protect your tooth from complete decay. Once the bacterial infection spreads into your pulp chamber, they can multiply and lead to a pus-filled pocket (abscess) at the end of the tooth’s root. A dental abscess is incredibly dangerous, and it also leads to other complications like bone loss around the tooth’s root, swelling around your face, and the infection may seep into your blood and reach other parts of your body. As such, emergency root canal treatment is crucial.

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Root Canal Procedure

You must contact the dentist that specializes in root canals. During your first visit, the root canal dentist will take an x-ray and examine your tooth to identify signs of infection. The dentist will then apply a local anesthesia to numb sensation. If you need root canal treatment, your tooth’s nerves are probably dead anyway, preventing sensation, but anesthesia is offered to put you at ease.

During the root canal therapy, the root canal dentist will place a rubber dam around the infected tooth to prevent saliva from getting in. The dentist will drill an access hole into your tooth to access the root canal, following which they’ll remove all the infected pulp, nerves, and debris. The root canal dentist will clean your root canal using root canal files of increasing diameters. Once done, the dentist will use water or a sodium hypochlorite solution to clear the debris.

After cleansing the root canal, the dentist will seal the access hole. However, before sealing it, the root canal dentist may want to wait a week to ensure the infection is gone. The root canal specialist will apply medication within the tooth to treat the infection and place a temporary filling to protect the access hole from external contamination, such as foods, saliva, etc.

During your next session, the dentist will remove the temporary filling and seal the tooth with a sealer paste and compound called gutta percha. Finally, the dentist will recommend a permanent dental crown to protect your affected tooth from damage and dental fractures. If you go for it, the dentist will discuss your options and take impressions of your teeth to prepare the most natural-looking dental crown possible, which will be attached to your tooth.

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Root Canals Q&As

Why do root canals take 2 visits?

Root canals can be done in a single visit as well. After removing all the pulp and nerves, the dentist can seal it immediately. After standard root canal procedures take two visits because the dentist applies a medicine to ensure the infection is gone, before proceeding with the sealer paste and dental crown.

Is a crown necessary after a root canal?

Dental crowns aren’t necessary after root canals. However, your root canal dentist will strongly recommend a dental crown because your tooth will be structurally weak after a root canal, leaving it susceptible to dental fractures and damages.

What is the main purpose of getting a root canal?

The primary purpose of a root canal treatment is to remove all the infected parts of your tooth and prevent a bacterial infection from spreading further.

How successful are root canals treatment?

Root canal treatments are incredibly successful, with a success rate exceeding 95%. Furthermore, teeth treated with root canals often last a lifetime.

What happens if an old root canal breaks apart?

If a tooth treated with a root canal breaks, you may need an emergency tooth extraction to remove the damaged tooth. After that, you can consider tooth replacement options, such as dental bridges, dental implants, or partial dentures. However, you should get a porcelain crown over the treated tooth after a root canal to prevent it from breaking.

What should you not do before a root canal?

There are no special preparations necessary before a root canal procedure — you can take your usual medications and follow your usual diet.

Can a tooth with a root canal be pulled?

Tooth extraction is often recommended if the root canal procedure doesn’t work, and the dental infection continues. So, yes, a tooth with a root canal can be pulled.

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Contact Sapphire Smiles for Root Canals in Houston Heights

Sapphire Smiles is one of the most reputable restorative dentistry clinics in Houston Heights, Texas. Our root canal dentist, Dr. Antoun, carefully examines your teeth to make sure you need root canal therapy. For more information, please schedule an appointment for root canals at Sapphire Smiles, Houston Heights.