10600 York Rd Suite 105 Cockeysville, MD 21030

How a Root Canal Works

At Valley Dental Health in Cockeysville, MD, our mission includes providing our patients with accurate and comprehensible information about dental procedures. One of the most common, yet often misunderstood, procedures is the root canal. This article explains the process of a root canal, why it might be necessary, and what to expect during and after the procedure.

This article explains the process of a root canal, why it might be necessary, and what to expect during and after the procedure.

Anatomy of a Tooth

Understanding the structure of a tooth helps make sense of the root canal procedure. A tooth consists of several layers. The outermost layer, the enamel, provides the first line of defense against decay. Underneath lies the dentin, which supports the enamel and carries some of the nerve fibers. The innermost part contains the pulp, comprising nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. This pulp plays a crucial role in the development of the tooth but can cause problems when infection occurs. The tooth’s nerve sits within the pulp, extending into the roots, and connects to the nerves in your jawbone.

When is a Root Canal Needed

Valley Dental Health performs root canals when the pulp becomes infected or inflamed. Several factors may lead to such infections. Untreated cavities allow bacteria to reach the pulp, causing infection. Additionally, a cracked or broken tooth can expose the pulp, leading to similar issues. Symptoms signaling the need for a root canal include severe tooth pain, prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold sensations, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling or tenderness in nearby gums.  

The Root Canal Procedure

At Valley Dental Health, our experienced team ensures the root canal procedure is as comfortable and straightforward as possible. The procedure involves several essential steps. First, the dentist takes an X-ray to diagnose the extent of the infection. An accurate diagnosis dictates the treatment plan. 

Next, the dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the affected area. Once the area is numb, the dentist creates an access point to reach the pulp and root canal. The dentist then uses specialized tools to clean out the infected pulp and shape the canal for the filling material. This crucial step removes all bacteria and infected tissue, preventing further infection. 

After cleaning the canal, the dentist fills it with a biocompatible material. This step seals the canal, helping to prevent future infections. Finally, the dentist places a temporary or permanent filling to close the access point. Often, the tooth requires further structural support. In such cases, the dentist recommends a crown to restore the tooth’s function and appearance.

Aftercare and Recovery

Post-procedure care is critical for a smooth recovery. Valley Dental Health provides detailed aftercare instructions tailored to each patient’s needs. Following these instructions promotes healing and prevents complications. Patients should avoid chewing with the treated tooth until the crown or permanent filling is in place. This precaution prevents damage to the tooth and allows it to heal properly

Over-the-counter pain relievers usually manage post-procedure discomfort. However, if pain persists or worsens, contacting Valley Dental Health promptly is crucial. Follow-up appointments ensure the tooth heals correctly and allow the dentist to monitor progress. The dentist will check for any signs of infection and ensure that the final restoration, such as a crown, fits well and offers proper function. 

In conclusion, understanding the root canal process could alleviate much of the anxiety surrounding the procedure. At Valley Dental Health, we strive to ensure our patients feel informed and comfortable every step of the way. From the initial diagnosis to post-procedure care, we prioritize patient well-being and satisfaction. If you experience any symptoms suggesting the need for a root canal, such as severe tooth pain or prolonged sensitivity, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Valley Dental Health.