For many years, root canals were portrayed in popular culture as uncomfortable, complicated dental treatments. Advancements in technology and technique have enabled endodontic specialists to streamline the root canal process and reduce discomfort during and after the procedure.
Most root canals can be completed in one or two appointments with the endodontist. The steps involved in performing the root canal include:
- The endodontist examines your tooth and makes a radiograph of it using X-rays.
- The area around the tooth to be treated receives a local anesthetic.
- A rubber dental dam is placed around the tooth to keep it clean and saliva-free.
- The endodontist accesses the roots of your tooth by making an opening in the crown.
- The tooth root canals are cleaned using special instruments.
- After the cleaning, the pulp in the canals is replaced with a biocompatible material.
- A temporary filling is placed on top of the canals near the top of the tooth.
There are several important things to note about the general timeline for your root canal.
- You will need to visit your general dentist for an additional appointment to have a permanent crown placed over the root canal.
- The endodontist may need additional time if they need to place a post in the tooth to shore up its structure during the root canal.
- The root canal may need to be retreated later if there is an undetected crack in the tooth, or if a canal is missed during the initial cleaning procedure.
“Root canals are cost-effective treatments for injured or infected teeth, and the time commitment needed to have one is minimal,” says Dr. Susan L. Wood, who practices with the Phoenix Endodontic Group. “If you have questions about how long your root canal might take, please contact our office.”