A root canal has long been a procedure feared by even the most comfortable of dental patients. However, in the last ten years significant technological advances have made the procedure relatively easy and pain free, eliminating the anxiety that once was the hallmark of this routine procedure.
A root canal is needed when the soft nerve tissue underneath the tooth becomes infected. The process is viewed as difficult because the tooth must be opened to reveal the nerves.
But new techniques in this area make the procedure virtually painless. A root canal begins with the numbing process. While a patient may feel some pressure on the tooth during this process, there is little, if any, pain. In fact, given that the patient was likely in pain before the procedure, the numbing process offers a welcome respite from the pain; and it only gets better from there.
The next step is the extraction. The offending nerve is revealed and then removed. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned in order to prevent additional infection or pain. Once cleaned, the area is filled with a rubber-like material – another technological advancement that adds to the long-term success of today’s root canal procedure.
The last step in the procedure is to cap the tooth, which covers the area within the tooth that has been cleaned and filled. A normal crown or filling is used for this process. Here too, technological advances in tools and materials help streamline this step and make it quick and easy.
After the root canal procedure and once the numbing wears off, there is a healing process that may cause a small amount of discomfort. However, any minimal discomfort is easily resolved with a little Advil or Tylenol.