Elmhurst Dentist Explains Root Canal Therapy Treatment

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on Jun 25, 2012

Elmhurst Dentist Explains Root Canal Therapy Treatment

When it comes to listing patients’ least favorite dental procedures, root canals almost always top the list. In reality, root canal therapy is a necessary treatment for many patients. It allows them to stop experiencing pain and to regain healthy tooth function. Today I’m going to talk about what a root canal is, how the treatment progresses, and why patients shouldn’t put off this vital treatment.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Beyond the hard enamel and dentin outer layers of your tooth lies the pulp chamber. This hollowed out space is filled with nerves, blood vessels, and tissue. When a tooth is cracked, or an infection spreads to the dental pulp, a root canal may be necessary. During root canal therapy a dentist clears out infected and inflamed pulp matter, cleans the inside of the tooth, and then reseals the pulp chamber to prevent further infection.

Most patients (erroneously) think that root canal therapy is very painful. However, root canal therapy is rarely more painful than having a regular filling. Additionally, root canals actually treat a variety of very painful and disruptive symptoms of infection, such as:

• Extreme toothaches
• Swollen gums
• Facial and neck swelling
• A tooth abscess—painful pockets of pus that accumulate at the end of the tooth root in the tissues of the jawbone

What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?

The goal of a root canal is to remove the infected and decaying pulp tissue and restore the functionality of the tooth. Most dentists will first take an X-ray of the tooth to see the extent of the infection and understand the structure of the tooth. When treatment begins, the dentist may anesthetize the area—our Elmhurst root canal dentists, for example, utilize sedation techniques to minimize pain and calm anxious patients.

The dentist will surround the infected tooth with a rubber shield to keep the area dry and sanitized. Then the dentist will remove the infected pulp by drilling a small hole into through your enamel and dentin. The dentist will scoop out infected pulp and flush the area to ensure that all of the damaged tissue is removed. If you are having your tooth sealed at a later appointment you may have a temporary crown placed after this procedure.

Finally, the sanitized tooth is sealed. The interior of the tooth is filled with a rubber compound. A filling is placed on the exterior of the tooth to seal the access hole and keep debris from infecting the enamel and dentin. After these steps are completed, you may have a crown or other dental restoration placed on the tooth.

Root canal treatment restores the functionality of teeth, so you’ll be able to eat, drink, and brush normally. Although the idea of a root canal may be initially scary, in the end this procedure actually helps patients live pain-free and maintain their dental health. If you have any questions about root canal therapy, pleases feel free to speak with our Elmhurst root canal dentists—(630) 733-1624. We can discuss your dental options in more detail and further explain the process of root canal therapy and our sedation options.