Root canal treatment can often be performed in one or two visits. The number of visits and time required to for treatment depends on your particular case. The root canal procedure involves the following steps:
- Administration of a local anesthetic to anesthetize the area of treatment. After the tooth is numb, a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” is placed over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
- An opening in created in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for filling.
- After the space is cleaned and shaped, a filling is placed within the root canals with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha.” The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canal space. A filling is placed to close the opening. In most cases this will be a permanent filling. If a temporary filling is placed then it will be removed by your dentist to allow placement of a permanent restoration to protect the tooth.
- After the final visit with Dr. Radatti and Dr. Duval, it is common for you to return to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place, your dentist or Dr. Radatii or D. Duval may place a post inside the tooth. Ask your dentist or Dr. Radatti for more details about the specific restoration planned for your tooth.
Will the tooth need any special care or additional treatment after root canal treatment?
You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had a permanent and protective restoration placed on the tooth. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a protective restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings. Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, another endodontic procedure can be performed to treat the tooth.