April 1

The What, Why and How of Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is one of the most feared dental procedures. People are usually nervous about their first root canal treatment because of the procedure having a reputation for being long and complicated. Patients who understand why the treatment is necessary and what’s going to happen during the procedure are usually much calmer and less fearful about root canal treatment.

Why is root canal treatment necessary?

The human tooth has a pulp chamber or root canals beneath the outer enamel and inner dentin layers which contains connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. If you have deep tooth decay or gum disease, it can cause inflammation of the pulp chamber, which can lead to pain in that particular tooth as well as other surrounding areas.

In such instances, root canal treatment is absolutely necessary to eliminate the source of pain and infection.

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment is the procedure during which the diseased and infected pulp is removed from your tooth by your dentist or endodontist, and replaced with a safe material. Most root canal procedures can be completed in one appointment. Some may require two to three appointments to ensure all the infection is removed and to place or repair the crown, if needed.

How is root canal treatment performed?

The general treatment process is as follows; it may slightly differ based on your dentist:

  1. You will usually be given a local anesthetic to numb the affected area. Some patients elect to have a form of sedation (oral, inhaled, or intravenous) for the procedure.
  2. A dental dam is placed around your tooth so as to prevent the saliva from touching the treatment area.
  3. Your dentist will use a drill to get through the surface of your tooth to access the pulp chamber.
  4. The infected pulp tissue is removed from the canal(s) using special instruments.
  5. The canals are then disinfected, usually with a saline solution.
  6. The canals are then reshaped so that filling material and sealants can be added.
  7. Thermoplastic filling material called “gutta percha” is used to fill in the empty canal. This prevents bacteria from infecting the canals again.
  8. The drilled out hole in the tooth is then sealed.
  9. Your tooth is restored permanently using a filling or crown. It is important to have this final phase of treatment completed so that bacteria doesn’t contaminate the canals again.

Should you have any questions about root canal treatment or to book a consultation, call Dr. Pat Crawford DDS now at (262) 649-9436 or stop by the office at 7851 Cooper Rd, Kenosha, WI 53142.



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