Table of Contents
- What is a root canal?
- Why is a root canal necessary?
- Why is a root canal necessary? (Part 2)
- Why is a root canal necessary? (Part 3)
- How is a root canal procedure performed?
- What happens during a root canal procedure? (Continued)
- Is there pain after getting a root canal?
- Are there special considerations for getting a root canal during pregnancy?
- What kind of problems or complications may occur after a root canal?
- What kind of problems or complications may occur after a root canal? (Continued)
- How long do root canals last?
- How much does a root canal cost?
- Are there any alternatives to a root canal?
- When should a tooth be extracted instead of getting a root canal?
How is a root canal procedure performed?
To confirm that a tooth does indeed require root canal treatment, the dentist will take an X-ray of the root and may perform a pulp vitality test. Most pulp tests involve placing a cold stimulus on the tooth to check for a healthy response. Many teeth will be tested to compare the responses. If the test confirms the need for root canal treatment, it will be completed in either one or two appointments. The dentist will determine whether the root canal will be treated in one or two appointments based on the size and duration of an abscess and other factors. A tooth is likely to be treated in two appointments if it is getting a retreatment (being treated a second time). Patients are often curious how long a root canal takes to finish. They can generally expect one or two appointments of about 90 minutes each. An endodontist, and some general dentists, will often perform root canal treatment using a microscope that attaches to the wall and hangs over the patient's mouth. This provides magnification that helps the treatment provider locate and treat all the necessary anatomy inside the tooth.
Before starting the root canal, the dentist will numb the tooth with local anesthesia (such as lidocaine) to ensure patient comfort. When the tooth has become sufficiently numb, the dentist will place a rubber dam over the tooth. The rubber dam consists of a metal clamp that holds a latex sheet in place around the tooth so it can remain clean and isolated from saliva and contaminants. Continue Reading