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Infections in the tooth, which are most often caused by the bacteria found in plaque, can wreak havoc on your oral health. If an infection reaches the “pulpy” material found in the innermost part of the tooth, root canal therapy may be necessary. At Elite Dental of Natick, we utilize the latest technology and techniques to ensure your root canal is safe, effective, and most importantly, pain-free.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a relatively common procedure used to stifle an infection in a tooth. Despite common misconceptions, root canals are virtually painless thanks to improved numbing agents like local anesthetic. We also specialize in several sedation tactics designed to eliminate fears, anxiety, and general discomfort.
Once you are properly prepared, Dr. Bethany Polnar will begin the actual procedure. During a root canal, we drill a very small hole in the top of the tooth to gain access to the underlying infection. Next, we remove any infected or decayed tooth material and flush out the area with a cleansing fluid.
The amount of pulp we remove depends on the extent of your infection. After the infection has been cleared, and the tooth has been cleaned, we fill the open space with a material known as gutta-percha. This rubber-like substance helps seal off the area from future infections and bacterial growth.
Once the gutta-percha is in place, we will fill the initial hole in the top of the tooth. Most of the time we use a tooth-colored material known as composite resin. At a follow-up appointment a few weeks later, we will place a dental crown.
Reasons for a Root Canal
The pulpy substance within the root contains connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerve endings, which can make an infection extremely painful. Ultimately, an infection in the pulp can threaten the life of a tooth. We generally recommend a root canal to save a tooth from extraction or prevent an abscessed tooth.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Bethany Polnar will perform a diagnostic examination to determine whether or not you need a root canal. Often, we use digital x-rays to assess damage that is not visible to the naked eye. Possible indicators that you may need a root canal include:
After Your Root Canal
The absence of the pulpy substance within the root can make a tooth too brittle to support itself. For this reason, most teeth that have undergone a root canal require the placement of a dental crown. A crown is a tooth-shaped cap, usually made from porcelain, designed to restore the structure and appearance of a vulnerable tooth.
Root canal treatment has a success rate of upwards of 95 percent. Even so, daily brushing and flossing is a vital part of avoiding future infections. We also suggest scheduling a cleaning and exam about every six months, twice a year so that we can monitor your progress.
Schedule Your Consultation Appointment
If you are currently experiencing a significant toothache or inexplicable pain, you may be in need of a root canal. Call (508) 319-9339 to schedule your consultation appointment today!