Root canal therapy is a common restorative procedure. At Calapooia Family Dental, we utilize cutting-edge techniques and technology to provide safer, more comfortable, and more effective root canals. Despite common misconceptions, root canals these days are virtually painless!
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
A root canal is often required when an infection reaches the inner-most part of a tooth, usually due to tooth decay. This area, known as the pulp, contains the connective tissues, nerves, blood vessels that keep a tooth healthy and strong. If an infection reaches the pulp chambers, it can jeopardize the life of a tooth.
An infection of the pulp can cause noticeable toothache and severe pain. At this point, the nerve structure begins to die, leading the infection to spread to the roots of the tooth. A root canal is designed to remove infected tooth material and stop the spread of further damage.
We will determine if you need a root canal during your initial consultation. Dr. Summers or Dr. Hagerty will use advanced diagnostic tools, such as digital x-rays or CBCT scans, to look for any signs of infection in the tooth and surrounding bone. Once we conclude that a root canal is the best course of action, we will schedule your procedure.
Root Canal Procedure
Like most restorative procedures, a root canal begins with the application of local anesthetic, which numbs the tooth and eliminates pain. We also offer several forms of sedation for patients with significant fears or anxieties caused by dental procedures. The most common type of sedation is nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas."
Once your tooth is numb, we will keep the area dry and free of saliva, typically using a rubber dam. Next, we drill a small access hole into the top of the tooth. The hole allows us to remove, bacteria, infected nerve tissue, and other debris from the pulp chamber. This often involves a water or hypochlorite solution to flush out the tooth.
After the inside of your tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, we will fill the area with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Gutta-percha helps seal off the root from bacteria, protecting it from further damage. Depending on the severity of your infection, and the extent of damage, this procedure may require multiple appointments.
After Your Root Canal
Following a root canal, the tooth may become weak or brittle due to a lack of blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves. This may put you at a greater risk for structure damage later down the line. For this reason, most teeth that have undergone a root canal are capped with a dental crown.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that improves the structure and appearance of a significantly damaged tooth. Most crowns these days are fabricated with porcelain, which is durable and esthetically-pleasing. Porcelain possesses the same light-reflective properties as natural enamel, making your crown virtually indistinguishable from your surrounding teeth.
After your crown is in place, we may ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment so we can monitor your progress. Be sure to implement the proper brushing and flossing techniques during your daily oral hygiene routine. With the proper care and maintenance, your new crown should last for several decades!
Schedule Your Appointment
If you are currently experiencing significant tooth pain, you may need a root canal. Call (541) 936-9222 to schedule your appointment and learn more about your potential options!