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So, you went to your check-up appointment recently and heard that phrase that no one ever wants to hear: You need a root canal. Yikes! What does that mean exactly and what can you expect? You’ve probably heard some of the horror stories, but thanks to modern dentistry root canals are surprisingly easy. In fact, many patients report that they can’t believe how painless it was! But even with that reassurance, it’s understandable to want to know how root canals in Brookfield can benefit you and what to expect at your appointment.
What Is a Root Canal and Why Do You Need One?
A root canal procedure is done to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted because the nerve is infected. This infection can occur because the tooth as a large cavity or fracture, or has been injured in an accident.
If you need a root canal, the two most common symptoms you might experience are pain or swelling – or both. Although there are some cases in which the nerve of the tooth has “quietly died,” resulting in an infection without any pain.
The nerve of each tooth is located in its innermost layer, also called the pulp or nerve canal. A root canal will only remove and replace the infected pulp tissue, leaving the outer layers of tooth structure intact.
If not removed, an infected pulp can cause severe pain and/or an abscess. Once this happens the only two options are to remove the tooth altogether or perform a root canal.
And since teeth are hard to come by, it’s worth every effort to save them!
What Can You Expect at Your Appointment?
Your dentist in Brookfield will start by taking a single x-ray of the tooth to assess the extent of the damage. Next, they’ll make sure you’re completely numb and comfortable before starting the procedure.
Many people don’t realize it, but part of why root canals got their bad reputation is that they were once done without proper anesthesia. Thankfully, in this day and age, there’s no reason to be concerned about that!
After you’ve been given anesthesia, the dentist will make a very small opening in the top of the tooth to access the nerve canal and will remove the infected tissue.
After thoroughly cleaning out the canal, they’ll replace the pulp tissue with a rubbery material called gutta percha. The final step is sealing up the tooth using a tooth-colored cement.
After a root canal, it’s generally recommended to put a crown, or “cap,” on the tooth to restore its original strength. Since the root canal removes the tooth’s blood supply, it can become brittle and break easily from chewing forces if it isn’t reinforced with a crown.
As mentioned earlier, many people are surprised that this procedure is so easy. It’s actually quite similar to what you’ve experienced when having a typical filling done. And the best part is that it preserves your tooth and allows you to continue using it for many years to come!
About the Author
All of the dentists at Elmbrook Family Dental are committed to providing top-notch, comfortable dental care to all of their patients. With over 20 years of experience each, they combine their years of expertise with a caring chairside manner, and always take the time to explain each procedure to their patients so they can better understand their oral health. If you have any questions about root canals, they can be reached at their website, or at (262) 784-7201.