So You Need a Root Canal: What Does That Mean?

By Dr. Kaffey on October 07, 2017

The infamous root canal. You’ve probably heard a lot of horror stories about it. How much it hurts, or how horrible the procedure is. While it isn’t a walk in the park, it is actually a really important procedure with minimal discomfort.

Years ago, it was common practice in dentistry to just “pull out” broken or severely decayed teeth before they caused any more problems. However, this usually caused more problems than it prevented, including shifting teeth, bite problems and potentially more infections.

Root canal treatments have since replaced this notion, and the treatment can actually save a bad tooth from needing extraction. Because it is now a standard treatment, there’s no need to worry about it once you know what to expect. Root canal therapy is routine.

What Exactly is a Root Canal?

The procedure actually gets its name because it is performed inside the root canal of your teeth, or the space inside the root.

It is a treatment that dentists perform when the nerve inside a tooth becomes inflamed or infected. The infection can be caused by a chipped or cracked tooth, a deep cavity or any other tooth injury that may allow bacteria to enter the pulp.

Because the pulp contains blood vessels and nerves, leaving the infected pulp in your tooth can result in pain, swelling, spreading of the infection to surrounding tissues and bacterial damage to the bone that holds that tooth to your jaw. In order to prevent further damage, eliminate pain and promote healing, a root canal is performed to remove the infected pulp.

What to Expect

When you go to Dr. David M. Kaffey for a root canal treatment, he will follow the necessary steps to save your tooth and to make sure you are comfortable the whole time.

  1. He will numb the tooth. This is for your comfort, so you will not feel any pain during the procedure. Once you can no longer feel the area surrounding the tooth, he will make an opening through the top of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
  2. He will remove the pulp. He will remove any infected pulp tissue from the pulp chamber and root canal. Once completed, the space is cleaned and disinfected so a special filling material can be placed inside the tooth.  
  3. He will fill the root canal. This is usually done with a rubber-like material, which seals off the space from bacteria.
  4. He will place a “sealing” filling. Once the canals are sealed, he will fill the top of the tooth with a hard, durable material to seal that off as well. You may be prescribed an antibiotic depending on the severity of the infection.
  5. He will restore the tooth. Almost all teeth that have a root canal, will need a cap (also called a crown) placed. This is critical to the long term success of this procedure because root canaled teeth become brittle and are susceptible to fractures. By placing a cap on these teeth, the chances of a fracture are greatly reduced, helping to ensure that you have this tooth for many years. When appropriate, Dr. Kaffey will prepare the tooth for a cap on the same day the root canal procedure is completed. Once the final cap is placed, the tooth will look and function like new.

Your Restored Smile

While the idea of a root canal can be daunting, know that Dr. Kaffey will make sure that you know exactly what to expect and that you are comfortable throughout the procedure and after you leave the office. With over 2 decades of experience and completing thousands of root canal procedures, you can be confident that you are in good hands.  

After all the steps of the treatment are completed, your smile will look wonderful again and you will be once again pain-free. However, it is important to always maintain healthy brushing and flossing habits, reduce your sugar intake, and have regular check ups to prevent more issues like this from occurring.

If you are having any kind of tooth pain, call Leading Dental Solutions in Lansdale to set up an evaluation with Dr. David M. Kaffey. Your pain might just be something serious that needs immediate attention and left unchecked, could lead to unnecessary complications. Call or click today. 

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Lansdale Office

2032 N Broad St
Ste 1
Lansdale, PA 19446

More Info Directions (215) 368-6636